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i Rome. By Arthur Gilman, M.A. 

2 Tue Jews. I P i [. K.Hi iSMl R. 

5. Oermany. I : la-. S. BARING- }8 

GO! 1 D M. \. 
4 Carthage. B; Prof. ALFRED I 

Cm r< 11 40. 

5. Alexander's Fmpire. By Prof. 

I I' M \ll IFFY. 
6 The Moors in Spain. By STANLEY 


7. Ancient Egypt. By Prof. GEORGE j 

K \u Ll'XSI IN. 

8. Hungary By Prof. ARMINIUS 


9. The Saracens. By ARTHUR Gil- 

M \\. M A. 

10. Ireland. By tin.- Hon. EMILY 

11 Chaloea. By ZFNaI'DE A RAGOZIN 

12, The Goths.' By Henry Bradley. 

1.;. Assyria. By Zfn'aMu- A. RAGOZIN. j 
14- 1 urkey By STANLEY LAKE-POOLE 

15. Holland. By Prof. J. E. Thorulu 40 

l: GKRS. 50. 

ifi Mediaeval France. By GUSTAVE 

1- Persia. By S. G. \v Benjamin. 

18. Phoenicia. By Prof. G. RAWLIXSOX. 

19. Media. By ZEXAtDE A. RAGOZIN. 

20. The Hansa Towns. By Helex 


21. Early Britain. By Prof. ALFRED 

J. Church. 

22. The Barbary Corsairs. By STANLEY 

Laxk-Poi ilk. 

23. Russia. By W. R. MoRFILL, M.A. 

24. The Jews under the Romans. By 

vv. l). Morrison. 

2;. Scotland. By |OHN MACKINTOSH, 

I.I. D. 
2l . Switzerland. By Mrs. LlNA HUG 

and R. STEAD. 60. 

27. Mexico. B\ Susan Hale 

2*. Portugal. By H. Morse Stephens, i 

29 The Hormans. By SARAH ORME 

Jew ei 1 . 62 

30. The Byzantine Empire. By C. W. 

C.Oman. 63 

3 1 Sicily : Phoenician, Greek and 

Roman. By the Prof. E. A 1 ; 


32. The Tuscan Republics. Bv Bella 

Duffy. 6;. 

33. Poland. By VV. R. MORFnX, M.A 

34. Parthia. By Prof. GEORGE RAW- 


35. The Australian Commonwealth. By 

Greville Trbgarthex. 

Spain. By H. K \V \ 1 rs. 

Japan. B) I » u ID Ml RR \'. Ph I >. 

South Africa. By George M. 

Venice. By Ai.ei hea WlEL. 

The Ciusades. By T. A. ARCHER 
and C. L. KlXGSFl IRD. 

Vedic India. By Z. A. RAGOZIN. 

The West Indies and the Spanish 
Main. By I \mi 3 R< >i>u \v. 

Bohemia. ' By C. EDMUND 
Mai rick. 

The Balkans. By W. MlLLl R, 

Canada. By Sir J. G. BOURIXOT, 
I.I. D. 

British India. Bv R. W. FRAZ1 R, 

Modern Prance. By ANDRE I.e 

Ihe Franks. By LEWIS SER- 

Austria. By SlDXEY WHITMAX. 

Modern Englani. Before ihe Re- 
form Bill. Bv Just in McC vrthy. 

China. By I'r'i. R EC. DOUGI AS. 

Modern England. From the Reform 
Bill to the Present Time. By 
Justin McCarthy. 

Modern Spain. By MARTIN A. S. 

Modern Italy. By I'm rRO pRSI. 

Norway. By H. H. BOYESEN. 

Wales. BvO. M. EDWARDS. 

Mediaeval Rome. By VV. Mil 1 ER, 
M A. 

The Papal Monarchy. By William 
Barry, uij. 

Mediaeval India under Mohamme- 
dan Rule. Bv Stanley Lane- 


Buddhist India. By Prof. T. W. 

Parliamentary England. By Ed- 

Mediaeval' England. By MARY 

The Coming of Parliament. By L 

Cecil J vne. 
The Story of Greece. From the 

Earliest Times to A.p 14. By 

E. s. Shuckrurgh. 
The Story of the Roman Empire. 
29 to \.i>. 47'. t By H, 

Stuari Jonkp. 
Denmark and Sweden, with Ice- 

l.ind ;md Finland. By JON 


London: T. FISHER UXW'IX, LTD., 1 Adelphi Terrace 

/\ KY ^ 4^ 


By Mrs. LIN A HUG and 


LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN, LTD., Adelphi Terrace 


Copyright by T. Fisher Umvin, 1S91 
(For Great Britain). 

Copyright by G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1S91 
(For the L'lii/ca States of America). 

First Edition 1891 

Second Impression 1892 

Third Impression 1902 

Fourth Impression 1914 

Second Edition [Revised and Enlarged) . 1920 






FOR many reasons, some of which are obvious to 
the least thoughtful, the history of Switzerland is 
peculiarly interesting, and not least so to English- 
speaking peoples. In the first place, the " playground 
of Europe " is every year visited by large numbers of 
British and Americans, some of whom indeed are 
familiar with almost every corner of it. Then to the 
Anglo-Saxon race the grand spectacle of a handful 
of freemen nobly struggling for and maintaining their 
freedom, often amidst enormous difficulties, and 
againsr appalling odds, cannot but be heart- stirring. 
To the citizen of the great American republic a study 
of the constitution of the little European republic 
should bring both interest and profit — a constitution 
resembling in many points that of his own country f 
and yet in many other respects so different. And few 
readers, of whatever nationality, can, we think, peruse 
this story without a feeling of admiration for a gallant 
people who have fought against oppression as the 
Swiss have fought, who have loved freedom as they 


have loved it, and who have performed the well-nigh 
incredible feats of arms the Switzers have performed. 
And as Sir Francis O. Adams and Mr. Cunningham 
well point out in their recently published work on the 
Swiss Confederation, as a study in constitutional his- 
tory, the value of the story of the development of the 
Confederation can hardly be over-estimated. 

Few of the existing accounts of Swiss history which 
have appeared in the English language go back 
beyond the year 1291 A.D., the date of the earliest 
Swiss League, and of course Switzerland as a nation 
cannot boast of an earlier origin. But surely some 
account should be given of the previous history of the 
men who founded the League. For a country which 
has been occupied at different periods by lakemen, 
Helvetians, and Romans ; where Alamanni, Burgun- 
dians, and Franks have played their parts ; where 
Charlemagne sojourned and ruled, and Charles the 
Bold fought ; where the great families of the Zaerings, 
the Kyburgs, and Savoy struggled ; and whence the 
now mighty house of Habsburg sprang (and domi- 
neered) — all this before 1291 — a country with such a 
story to tell of its earlier times, we say, should not 
have that story left untold. Accordingly in this 
volume the history of the period before the formation 
of the Confederation has been dwelt upon at some 
little length. It should be mentioned, too, that in 
view of the very general interest caused by the 
remarkable discovery of the Swiss lake settlements 
a few years ago, a chapter has been devoted to the 

Mindful, however, of the superior importance of the 


formation and progress of the Confederation, an en- 
deavour has been made to trace that progress step by 
step, showing how men differing in race, in language, 
in creed, and in mode of life, combined to resist the 
common enemy, and to build up the compact little 
state, we now see playing its part on the European 
stage. The whole teaching of the history of the 
country may be summed up in Mr. Coolidge's words, 
in his " History of the Swiss Confederation " (p. 65). 
" Swiss history teaches us, all the way through, 
that Swiss liberty has been won by a close union of 
many small states." And Mr. Coolidge adds an 
opinion that " it will be best preserved by the same 
means, and not by obliterating ail local peculiarities, 
nowhere so striking, nowhere so historically impor- 
tant as in Switzerland." 

It remains^ to add a (exv words as to the authorities 
consulted by the writers of this little volume. The 
standard Swiss histories have naturally been largely 
used, such as those of Dr. Carl Dandliker, Dierauer, 
Vulliemin, Daguet, Strickler, Vogelin, and Weber 
("Universal History"). Amongst other histories 
and miscellaneous writings — essays, pamphlets, and 
what not — may be mentioned those of Dr. Ferdinand 
Keller, Wartmann, Heer, Heierli, Von Arx, 
Mommscn, Burkhardt, Morel, Marquardt, Dahn, 
Budinger, Secretan, Von Wyss, Meyer von Knonau, 
Oechsli, Schweizer, Finsler, Roget, Bachtold, Marc- 
monnier, Rambert, Hettncr, Schcrer, Roquctte, Frcy- 
tag, Pestalozzi, Schulze, and Kern. Amongst the 
English works consulted are Freeman's writings, the 
Letters of the Parker Society, Adams and Cunning- 


ham's " Swiss Confederation," Cooiidge's reprint from 
the " Encyclopaedia Britannica " of the article on the 
" History of the Swiss Confederation," Bryce's " Holy 
Roman Empire," &c. 

The authors are indebted for most kind and valu- 
able assistance to several eminent Swiss scholars. To 
Prof. Georg von Wyss and Prof. Meyer von Knonau 
special thanks are due, whilst Prof. Kesselring, Herr 
J. Heierli, and others, have shown much helpful in- 
terest in the progress of the work. They also owe 
many thanks to Dr. Imhoof, who has most kindly 
furnished them with casts from his famous collection 
of coins ; and to the eminent sculptors, Vela and 
Lanz, who have given permission to use photographs 
of their latest works for illustration purposes. 

Zurich and Folkestone, July, 1890. 


The Swiss Confederation emerged from the Great 
War and the peace settlements which followed it 
as a more important factor in European politics 
than ever. In some respects — apart from the estab- 
lishment of the headquarters of the League of 
Nations at Geneva — the war increased the prestige 
of Switzerland. It has, in the first place, demon- 
strated to the whole world the value of small states. 
The war arose in the East over a small state, in 
the West for a similar cause, and one of the principal 
claims of the Entente Powers was that they stood 
not only for the sanctity of treaties, but for the 
independence of small nationalities. Henceforward, 
with the collapse of the idea, so loudly put forward 
by certain writers, that the existence of small 
states in modern Europe was an unnatural 
phenomenon, it was to be impossible for the culture 
and political institutions of even the smallest nations 
to be under-estimated. That change of view in the 
world was all to the advantage of Switzerland. 


( )f equal importance to Swiss prestige was the 
in. inner in which the Confederation, throughout the 
war, was increasingly referred to as a pattern state 
an example of the way in which nations should weld 
themselves into a state and live peaceably among 
themselves. For, in spite of the immense difficulties 
which differing sympathies among the three different 
nationalities inevitably created, it may be said that 
Swiss national unity survived the test of the war 
with remarkable success, and in consequence stands 
higher even than before in the estimation of his- 
torical students and practical politicians who look 
for some form of state organization which, though 
linguistic and national unity may be lacking to it, 
is able to ensure individual freedom and consolidate 
itself on a basis of common historical tradition and 
co-operation. The very fact that during the war, as 
before, certain groups of Austro-Hungarian poli- 
ticians busied themselves with the project of creating 
a so-called " monarchische Schweiz " (monarchical 
Switzerland), or that a solution of the Irish problem 
was seriously suggested involving reorganization of 
the government of Ireland on the Swiss model — 
these are indications of the way in which the 
immense political problems of the war contributed 
to render Switzerland more important than ever in 
the eyes of all who concern themselves with the 
great tasks of government. 

And if Switzerland has become more noteworthy 
in recent years in consequence of the European 
War, she remains equally noteworthy for all those 
numerous reasons which held good before its out- 


break ; the influence which the Swiss Confederation, 
out of all proportion to its size, wealth, and political 
weight, has always exerted upon the world of 
politics, of education, of social and industrial organi- 
zation — this is as powerful as it ever was. Xor has 
Switzerland's geographical and strategical position 
in any way ceased to make her tiny territory one 
of the most important spots of Europe, her neutrality 
a factor in European stability the importance of 
which cannot be exaggerated. To-day it is, and 
will be as long as one can reasonably predict, an 
axiom of European politics, that he who possesses 
the crest of the Alp? holds control of Central 
Europe. This is true in an economic as well as in 
a military sense. The Great Powers showed their 
appreciation of the truth of this fact when, at the 
Congress of Vienna, they agreed to recognize Swiss 
neutrality ; later they demonstrated their under- 
standing of the matter by the way in which they, 
first Germany in connection with the St. Gotthard, 
then France in connection with the Simplon, eagerly 
supported the projects of railways through neutral 
Swiss territory. It is still immensely to the 
advantage of European equilibrium that .the crest 
of the Alps, the place where two great rivers take 
their rise, the traffic centre for a great part of Cen- 
t'-al and Southern Europe, should be in the hands 
of a state which, though politically weak and incap- 
able of aggression, is yet able to maintain its 
neutrality and ensure the exclusion of all powerful 
states from this great strategic point of Europe. 
It is fortunate that, with such a trust as is hers 


to-day, the Swiss Confederation has been able, 
throughout the centuries, to develop a genuine sense 
of national tradition. 1 lad she not done so, we might 
almost say that it would have been necessary for 
Europe to do so for her. 

What is true in the economic and strategic sphere 
is also true in the social and political. Apart from 
the establishment of the headquarters of the League 
of Nations on Swiss soil, which is a recent decision, 
it was remarkable to how many international organi- 
zations, headed by the International Red Cross, 
Switzerland was enabled by her privileged and yet 
responsible situation to offer hospitality. The world 
owes much to Swiss hospitality, and in one or two 
important cases to Swiss initiative in this regard, 
as a study of the various international organizations 
with their seat at Berne or Basle would prove.. The 
Red Cross has been mentioned. That is likely, as 
the idea of international organization spreads in the 
world, to receive an important extension. There is 
also the Universal Postal Union, which finds its most 
convenient central office in Berne. Finally, there 
is the example which, some years before the League 
of Nations Covenant, was given to civilization by 
the International Labour Office of Basle, which took 
in hand the work of promoting, by international 
action, legislation in all countries which should tend 
to the abolition of undesirable conditions of employ- 
ment. The importance of Switzerland as the home 
of all these great causes has not in any way dimin- 
ished ; it has rather increased. 

On her own account, too, and apart from the 


exceptional good fortune and responsibility attach- 
ing to her geographical and political situation, 
Switzerland has long been and must remain a 
country of considerable attraction to political, social, 
and historical students and men of affairs. The 
organization of the Swiss Federal Army, for 
example, was an experiment of the highest interest 
and importance. As soon as it was completed, as 
will be seen, a British Commission proceeded to 
Switzerland for the purpose of studying it, and for 
many years before the outbreak of the Great War 
the advocates of compulsory military service in Great 
Britain and other countries pleaded for the elabora- 
tion of a scheme on the Swiss model. At any time 
this may become of practical interest once more. 

In the sphere of education there have been many 
authoritative writers who have pointed to the ex- 
ample of Switzerland, which has not only known 
how to bring technical education up to a high pitch 
of efficiency, but has contrived to free the educa- 
tional question from much of that religious dispu- 
tation which has, in most countries of Europe, done 
so much to delay educational progress. Switzerland 
as a forerunner in educational policy is still of con- 
siderable importance, and no account of present-day 
conditions in the Helvetian Confederation can fail 
to take note of the fact. 

But it is when we come to political and social 
legislation and administration that the interest and 
value of past Swiss history and present Swiss 
tendencies are most clearly manifest. The Swiss 
Confederation is, in general, a very highly-developed 



type of democracy. Its federal character, that is, 
its relation as unified state to the various national 
groups and local political entities which compose 
it, has been mentioned. Equally noteworthy is its 
democratic character, that is, its relation to the 
various social classes of its population. The great 
search of most modern civilized countries is for a 
solution of the problem of ensuring, in the legisla- 
ture, the absolute expression of the people's will. 
It is to-day seen more clearly than ever that there 
is no way of subduing discontent and stifling the 
growth of disastrous revolution than tha^ of pro- 
viding for as full a degree of popular representation 
in the legislature of the country as can be secured 
by administrative and elective machinery. Switzer- 
land has brought her machinery to an extraordin- 
arily high degree of perfection. It is true that in 
certain details, such as the granting of the suffrage to 
women, she is now behind countries such as Great 
Britain, Italy, and Germany, which have made this 
step forward towards complete parliamentary de- 
mocracy, either as a result of their experiences during 
the war, or in consequence of the triumph of pure 
democracy over veiled autocracy. But, except in 
this one particular, Switzerland may lay claim to 
being the most interesting working example of an 
advanced democratic state, replete with all the 
requisite machinery for registering the popular will 
with as close an approximation to accuracy as seems 
possible in that great complexity of strongly ex- 
pressed interests and desires which make up the 
modern democratic state. 


In several directions Switzerland has been at once 
the pioneer and the experimental station for Europe. 
The Swiss Federal Constitution of 1874 is an 
example which occurs readily to the mind. Though 
to a considerable extent inspired by the Constitution 
of the United States, it presents several points of 
difference, the most interesting being those which 
concern the processes of amendment, a highly prac- 
tical section the working out of which is the most 
valuable Swiss contribution to the common stock of 
the world's experience of democratic government. 
The reference is, of course, to the two principles of 
popular initiative and referendum, in the exercise 
of which Switzerland can show a longer experience 
than any other nation. To them must now be added 
yet one more piece of democratic machinery in 
which Switzerland made an innovation, namely, in 
the "natter of proportional representation. Switzer- 
land's practical experience of these measures and 
the concrete examples Swiss history provides of 
their effect have been and will continue to be a 
prime reason for the study of the development of 
the Confederation. 

And in the sphere of social legislation, too, Swit- 
zerland has more than once led the way, notably 
in the matter of workmen's compensation for indus- 
trial accidents. Out of this grew what authorities 
rightly describe as the "epoch-making" addition 
to the Constitution, adopted October 29th, 1890, 
establishing the principle of sickness and accident 
insurance. This, though at first rejected by the 
democratic method of referendum which has been 


mentioned, was later accepted, and, with other Swiss 
experiments in the same field, such as the unemploy- 
ment insurance and factory legislation, is a justi- 
fication of the importance of Switzerland to all 
students of social questions. The name Switzer- 
land, to Englishmen in particular, has so long con- 
noted mountain scenery and winter sports, has so 
long been synonymous with the phrase " the play- 
ground of Europe," that it seems desirable to 
emphasize these more serious claims to attention 
on the part of the Confederation. The history of 
Switzerland is an essential subject of study, not only 
because we have scaled her Alps, not only because her 
ideal of liberty has always been the attraction of our 
poets and political thinkers, but also because in so 
many ways, in education, in social and political 
organization, she stands as a pattern for far greater 
and more powerful nations, because her unique 
position in the centre of the Continent is essential 
to the European equilibrium on which the peace of 
the world still so much depends. 

November 14//2, 1919. 


The following bibliography does not aim at being 
a complete bibliographical guide to Swiss history. 
It includes, under appropriate headings, and with 
elucdatory notes, only standard works and such 
other books as have been found of service to the 
writers of this volume. 

Swiss History. 
(a) Genei'al Works. 

Johannes Dierauer : " Geschichte der schweizer- 
ischen Eidgenossenschaft " (Berne, 1917). 

The standard history up to the year 1848 ; a 
scholarly and exhaustive work in five substantial 

"Encyclopaedia Britannica" (191 1 Edition: Rev. 
W. A. 15. Coolidge's article "Switzerland"). 

This is a good summary to the year 1907, with 
a full bibliography. 


Wilhelm Oechsli : " Ouellenbuch zur Schweizer- 
Geschichte" (Zurich, 1918). 

This 1918 edition of this excellent "source-book" 
brings the collection of documents down to the 
first months of the European War. 

ib) Switzerland in the Nineteenth Century. 

Wilhelm Oechsli : " Geschichte der Schweiz in 
neunzehnten Jahrhundert " (Leipsic, 19 1 3). 

This is the standard Swiss history for the period. 
The same writer's contributions to the "Cambridge 
Modern History " may also be consulted. The 
death, in 19 19, of Professor Oechsli, who was 
Professor of Swiss History at the University of 
Zurich, deprived Switzerland of her most distin- 
guished historian. 

J. Schollenberger : " Die schweizerische Eidgenos- 
senschaft von 1874 bis auf die Gegenwart" (Berlin, 

This is a complete and detailed review of con- 
stitutional changes from the 1874 Constitution to 
the year 19 10. 

P. Seippel and others : " La Suisse au Dix- 
neuvieme Siecle" (Lausanne, 1901). 

Series of interesting chapters on Swiss history, 
literature, etc. 

(c) Switzerland in the Twentieth Cent my. 

P. Clerget : "La Suisse au vingtieme Siecle'' 
Paris, 1908). 
An excellent short review up to the year 1905, 


devoting special attention to commercial, financial, 
and industrial development. 

" Politisches Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen Eidgen- 
ossenschaft" (Berne, annually). 

This year-book contains an annual survey of events, 
with interesting essays on various aspects of Swiss 

(d) Switzerland in the European War. 

I. Grunberg: " La Suisse neutre et loyale" (Geneva, 

A complete collection of official decrees during 
the first five months of the war. No volume in 
continuation appears to have been issued. 

" limes History of the War" (London, 1917). 

Part 173 of this series was devoted so Switzerland, 
and gave a brief sketch of events in Switzerland from 
191 \. to 191 7. 

"Politisches Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen Eidgen- 
ossenschaft" (as above). 

The volumes published during the war were found 
of particular value. 

Swiss Social Legislation and Constitutional 

Robert C. Brooks: "Government and Politics in 
Switzerland" (New York, 191 8). 

An admirable account of the subject, with an 
exhaustive bibliography in conclusion. 

Woodrow Wilson : " The State" (London, 19 19). 

Chapter XI of this edition contains an account of 
the Swiss Constitutional svstem. 

xxiv bibliography. 

The Railways of Switzerland. 

P. Weissenbach : " Das Eisenbahnwesen dcr 
Schweiz " (Zurich, 191 3). 

An exhaustive account, by a foremost authority, 
of the origin and development of the Swiss railway 

The Swiss Army. 

C. Delme-Radcliffe : " A Territorial Army in 
Being" (London, 1908). 

An excellent account of the Swiss Army as 
reorganized in the year 19 17. 

Julian Grande: "The Swiss Army" (London, 

Swiss Statistics. 

" Statistisches Jahrbuch der Schweiz." 

This annual, published at Berne by the Bureau 

federal de Statistique, is the authoritative source for 

population, trade statistics, etc. 

Swiss Press. 

"Jahrbuch der Schweizer Presse." 

This annual, published at Berne regularly, gives a 
list of the newspapers and periodicals published in 
Switzerland, as well as a general survey of events 
in the world of Swiss journalism. 



Preface . . ix 

Introduction to Revised and Enlarged Edition xiii 

Bibliography ........ xxi 

List of Illustrations ..... xxxiii 

Table showing Names, Areas, and Populations 

of Cantons xxxvi 


The Lake Dwellers ..... 1-12 

Discovery of Lake Settlements — Dr. Ferdinand Keller's ex- 
plorations — Three distinct epochs — Daily life of the Lakemen 
— Lake Settlements in East Yorkshire. 


The Helvetians 13-28 

Extent of their territory — Their government and mode of life 
— Orgetorix — Divico beats the Roman forces — Caesar routs 
Helvetians — Vercingetorix — Yalisians — Rhsetians. 


Helvetia under the Romans .... 29-43 

Caesar's mode of dealing with Helvetia— Augustus — Helvetia 
incorporated into Gaul — Vespasian — Alamanni and Bur- 
gundians — Christianity introduced. 



The Ancestors of the Swiss Nation . . 44-57 

The Huns and their ravages — Alanianni — Burgundians — "The 
Nibelungenlied " — -The Franks subdue both Alamanni and 
Burgundians — Irish monks preach in Switzerland. 


The Carolingians — Charlemagne . . . 58-70 

Pepin le Bref — Charlemagne — His connection with Zurich. 


The Kingdom of Burgundy ; the Duchy of 
Swabia; and the German Empire . . 71-82 

Division of Charlemagne's territory into three — Rudolf the 
Guelf — Swabian Dukes — Genealogical tables. 


Burgundy and :J\vabia under the German 
Emperors 85-94 

Bertha, the " Spinning Queen " — Her son Conrad — Helvetia 
in close connection with Germany — Henry III. — Struggle 
with the Fapal power. 


The Reign of the House of Zaeringen . 95-100 

Their origin — Freiburg and other towns founded — Bern 
founded — Defeated by Savoy — The Crusades. 


The Houses of Kyburg, Savoy, and Habsbukg 101-117 

Fall of the Zaerings — Kyburg dynasty — Growth of Feudalism 
— The Hohenstaufen — Savoy — Rise of the Habsburgs — 


CONTENTS. xxvii 



The Confederation, or Eidgenossenschaft i 18-130 

The Forest Cantons — The Oath on the Riitli — Rudolf op- 
presses the Waldstatten — Tell and the apple — Investigation 
as to the facts relating to the foundation of the League. 


The Battle of Morgarten . . . 131-137 

Attempt on Zurich by the Habsburgs — Albrecht — Gathering 
of the Wald peoples — Austrian defeat. 


The League of the Eight States . . 139-146 

Lucerne joins the League — Zurich follows — War with Austria 
— Glarus attached to the League as an inferior or protected 
State — Zug joins the Union — Bern. 


Zurich an example of a Swiss Town in the 
Middle Ages ..... 147-157 

AbDey Church of our Lady — Influence of the Lady Abbess — 
Citizens in three classes — They gradually gain freedom — 
Trade of the city — Zurich a literary centre — Uprising of the 
working classes — A new constitution. 


Bern crushes the Nobility : Great Victory of 
Laupen ...... 158-166 

Bern of a military bent — Forms a West Swiss Union — Siege 
of Solothurn— Bern opposes the Habsburgs — Acquires Laupen 
— Victory at Laupen — League of the Eight States completed. 


The Battles of Sempach and Naefels . 167-178 

Opposition to Austria— Leopold III., Character of — His plans 
— Defeat and death at Sempach — Winkelried — Battle of 

xxviii CONTENTS. 



How Switzerland came to have Subject Lands 179-189 

Acquisition of surrounding territories desirable — Appenzell — 
Valais — Graubiinden— Aargau — Quarrels with Milan. 

War between Zurich and Schwyz . . 190-199 

Dispute concerning Toggenburg lands — Stiissi of Zurich and 
Von Reding of Schwyz — Zurich worsted — Makes alliance with 
Austria — France joins the alliance — Battle of St. Jacques. 

Burgundian Wars ..... 200-216 

Charles the Bold — Louis XI. of France — Causes which led 
to the war — Policy of Bern — Commencement of hostilities — 
Battle of Grandson — Morat — Siege of Nancv and death of 


Meeting at Stanz, &c 217-229 

Prestige gained by the League — Disputes respecting the ad- 
mission of Freiburg and Solothurn — Diet at Stanz— Nicolas 
von der Flue — Covenant of Stanz — Waldmann — His execution. 


The League of the Thirteen Cantons Com- 
pleted ....... 230-242 

Maximilian — Swabian War — Separation of Switzerland from 
the Empire — Basel joins the League — Schaffhausen— Appen- 
zell — Italian wars — Siege of Novara — Battle of Marignano — 
St. Gall. 

The Great Councils, Landsgemeinde, and Diet, 
&c 243-253 

Two kinds of Canton — Constitution of Bern and of Zurich — 
Landsgemeinde — Tagsatzung — Intellectual and literary life. 




The Reformation in German Switzerland 254-268 

Zwingli — His early life — His desire for a reformation — Ap- 
pointed to Zurich — A national Reformed Church established 
— Spread of the new faith — The Kappeler Milchsuppe — Dis- 
putes between Luther and Zwingli — Second quarrel with the 
Forest — Zwingli killed. 

The Reformation in West Switzerland . 269-278 

Political condition of Vaud and Geneva — Charles III. and 
Geneva — The " Ladle Squires " — Bonivard thrown into 
Chillon — Reformed faith preached in French Switzerland by 
Farel — Treaty of St. Julien— Operations in Savoy. 

Geneva and Calvin . 279-290 

Calvin — His " Institutes" — His Confession of Faith — Banish- 
ment from Geneva — His return — The Consistoire — The 
" Children of Geneva " — Servetus burnt — The Academy 
founded— Calvin's death. 

The Catholic Reaction .... 291-302 

Droit (Fasile — Pfyffer — Carlo Borromeo, Aichbishop of Milan 
— Borromean League — Protestants driven from Locarno — 
Switzerland an asylum for religious refugees — Effect of Swiss 
Reformation on England — Revival of learning — Escalade of 


The Aristocratic Period . 3°3~3 14 

Thirty Years' War — Graubiinden and its difficulties — Massacre 
in Valtellina — Rohan — Jenatsch — Peasants' Revolt — Treaty 
with France. 



Political Matters in the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury 315-323 

Aristocracy and plebeians — French League — Massacre at 
Greifensee— Davel's plot — Bern — Its three castes — Constitu- 
tional struggles in Geneva — Affray in Neuchatel. 

Switzerland and the Renaissance : Influence 
of Voltaire and Rousseau . . 324-342 

Voltaire — Residence at Ferney — No special influence on 
Geneva — Rousseau — Madame de Stael — Swiss savants — 
Zurich a Poets' Corner — Breitinger, Bodmer, Haller, Klop- 
stock, &c. — Pestalozzi — Lavater — The Helvetic Society. 


The French Revolution and Switzerland 343-359 

Swiss Guards massacred in Paris — Insurrection of Stiifa — 
Treaty of Campo Formio — The Paris Helvetic Club — The 
' ' Lemanic Republic " — Surrender of Bern — Helvetic Republic 
proclaimed — Opposition by Schwyz, Stanz, &c. 


The "One and Undivided Helvetic Republic'' 357-368 

A levy ordered by France — Franco-Helvetic alliance — Austrian 
occupation — Russian occupation — Battle of Zurich — Su- 
warow's extraordinary marches — Heavy French requisitions — 
Rengger and Stapfer, — Centralists and Federalists — Napoleon 
as mediator. 


The Mediation Act and Napoleon . 369-381 

Conference in Paris on Swiss matters — Mediation Act signed — 
The Bockenkrieg — Six new cantons formed — Material and 
intellectual progress — Extinction of Diet— The " Long Diet" 
— Congress of Vienna — Completion of twenty-two cantons. 



Switzerland under the Constitution of 
1815-48 ... . . 382-394 

Dissatisfaction with results of Vienna Congress — The French 
revolution of 1830 — The " Day of Uster " — The Siebner Con- 
cordat — -Catholic League — Progress of education — -Political 
refugees in Switzerland — Louis Philippe — Louis Napoleon — 
Disturbances in Zurich by the Anti-Nationalists — The Sonder- 
bund War. 

Under the Constitution of 1848 . . 395-407 

New Federal Constitution — Federal Assembly — Federal 
Council — Federal Tribunal — Powers of the individual cantons — 
Military service — Neuchatel troubles — Federal Pact amended — 
The Initiative— The Referendum. 


Commercial Activities: The Movement towards 
Centralization ..... 408-425 

Wohlgemuth ca^e — Transformation of Swiss economic policy 
— Increased taxes on imports — Economic agreements with 
foreign Powers — Obligatory initiative introduced for partial 
constitutional revisions — Labour legislation — Attempts to 
centralize financial system — Purchase of railways — The 
St. Gotthard question — Unification of Swiss civil and 
criminal codes — Army reform. 


Switzerland in the Great European War 426-451 

Mobilization of Swiss Army — Affirmation of neutrality — The 
Neutralitiitsberichte — Swiss opinion in regard to the war- — 
Foreign influences in Switzerland — "Two Colonels' affair" 
— Grimm-Hoffmann affair — Election of M. Gustave Ador 
V> Federal Council — The Societti Suisse de Surveillance — 



Kconomic embarrassments — Revolutionary agitation— Elec- 
tions under proportional representation to National Council 
— Switzerland and the peace discussions in Paris— The 
St. Gotthard Treaty — The question of the Rhine —The Savoy 
Zones — Switzerland's entry into the League of Nations. 

Industry, Commerce, Railways, Education, the 
Swiss Press, Swiss Literature, Interna- 
tional Organizations, the Right of Asylum, 
Population ...... 452-468 

Foreign trade — Statistics of imports and exports — Principal 
Swiss industries — Swiss railways — Education — Modern Swiss 
literature — The Swiss Press — International organizations 
established in Switzerland — The right of asylum — Intern- 
ment during the European War — Population statistics. 

Genealogical Tables 83, 84 

Index ........ 4.60 




dr. Ferdinand keller Frontispiece 

map, showing lake settlements around zurich 

lake, by mr. heierli 2 

(i) decoration on sword hilt j (2 and 3), stone 
celts found in swiss lake dwellings (copied 
by permission from " harper's magazine ") 4 

specimens of pottery found in swiss lake 
dwellings (copied by permission from " har- 
per's magazine ") 7 

johannisstein, with ruins of castle of " hohen- 

rh^tia," near thusis, graubunden ... io 

the weisshorn piercing through the greyness. 

(from a drawing by joseph pennell) ... 16 

house (formerly chapel) in romaunsh style, at 

schuls, lower engadine, graubunden . . 27 

silver coin, vercingetorix (dr. imhoof, winter- 

thur) • 29 

gold coin, vespasian [vespasianus imperator- 

aetern1tas' (dr. imhoof) 34 











TURY) 102 

bronze figures from maximilian monument, 
innsbruck (arthur of the round table, 
britain ; theodobfrt, duke of burgundy j 
ernest, duke of austria ] theodoric, king 
of the ostrogoths) i06 

the old habsburg castle, canton aargau . . 112 

thaler of the three cantons (uri, schwyz, and 

unterwalden) 120 

map of old switzerland 1 38 






















THALER OF I564 (ST. GALL) 289 





LAVATER . . 34O 















German Name. 



. „ ( Ausser Rhoden 

Appenzell } Innef Rhoden 

Basel Stadt 

,, Land 



St. Galler 











,, . ,, (ObdemWald 
Unterwalden] Mid dgm „ 






French Name. 


Annenzell ' Rhodes Exterieures 
Appenzell j Rhodes Interieures 


,, Campagne 



St. Gall . 

Geneve (Geneva) 





Schaft house 

Schwyz (Schwy tz ) 


Tessin (Italian, Ticino) 


unterwaiden{^g a a s ut ;;;;;;;; 



















= 2 



















Total 15,987 i3.753.290 

The statistics are taken from the Federal " Statistisches Jahrbuch," and 
refer to the year 1910, the last Census. 





WiiO first lived in this country of ours? What and 
what manner of men were they who who first settled 
on its virgin soil and made it " home " ? These 
questions naturally present themselves every now 
and then to most thoughtful people. And the man 
with any pretensions to culture feels an interest in 
the history of other countries besides his own. 

But however interesting these questions as to 
primary colonizations may be, they are usually 
exactly the most difficult of answer that the history 
of a country presents. Now and then indeed we may 
know tolerably well the story of some early Greek 
immigration, or we may possess full accounts of the 
modern settlement of a Pitcairn Island ; but in far the 
greater number of instances we can but dimly surmise 
or rashly guess who and what were the earliest inhabi- 
tants of any given region. 

In the case of Switzerland, however, we are parti- 
cularly fortunate. " Every schoolboy " has heard of 



the wonderful discoveries made on the shores of the 
beautiful Swiss lakes during the last few years, and 
the same schoolboy even understands, if somewhat 
hazily, the importance attaching to these discoveries. 
Nevertheless, some short account of the earliest 
inhabitants of the rugged Helvetia must occupy this 
first chapter. And to the general reader some little 
information as to what was found, and how it was 
found, on the lake shores, may not come amiss. 

In the winter of 1853, the waters of Zurich lake 
sank so low that a wide stretch of mud was laid bare 
along the shores. The people of Meilen, a large 
village some twelve miles from the town of Zurich, 
took advantage of this unusual state of things to 
effect certain improvements, and during the opera- 
tions the workmen's tools struck against some 
obstacles, which proved to be great wooden props, or 
piles. These piles, the tops of which were but a few 
inches below the surface of the mud, were found to be 
planted in rows and squares, and the number of them 
seemed to be enormous. And then there were picked 
out of the mud large numbers of bones, antlers, 
weapons, implements of various kinds, and what not. 
Dr. Ferdinand Keller, a great authority on Helvetian 
antiquities, was sent from Zurich to examine the spot, 
and he pronounced it to be a lake settlement, 
probably of some very ancient Celtic tribe. Many 
marks of a prehistoric occupation had previously been 
found, but hitherto no traces of dwellings. Naturally 
the news of this important discovery of lake habi- 
tations caused a great sensation, and gave a great 
impulse to archaeological studies. Dr. Keller called 


{Copied by permission from "Harpers Magazine.") 


these early settlers Pfahl-bauer, or pile-builders, from 
their peculiar mode of building their hou-es. 

During the course of the last thirty years or so, 
over two hundred of these aquatic villages have been 
discovered — on the shores of the lakes of Constance, 
Geneva, Zurich, Neuchatel, Bienne, Morat, and other 
smaller lakes, and on certain rivers and swampy 
spots which had once been lakes or quasi-lakes. 
The Alpine lakes, however, with their steep and often 
inaccessible banks, show no trace of lake settlements. 
The lake dwellings are mostly l placed on piles 
driven some 10 feet into the bed of the lake, and as 
many as thirty or forty thousand of these piles have 
been found in a single settlement. The houses them- 
selves were made of hurdlework, and thatched with 
straw or rushes. Layers of wattles and clay alternat- 
ing formed the floors, and the walls seem to have 
been rendered more weather-proof by a covering of 
clay, or else of bulrushes or straw. A railing of 
wickerwork ran round each hut, partly no doubt to 
keep off the wash of the lake, and partly as a protec- 
tion to the children. Light bridges, or gangways 
easily moved, connected the huts with each other and 
with the shore. Each house contained two rooms at 
least, and some of the dwellings measured as much 
as 27 feet by 22 feet. Hearthstones blackened by 
fire often remain to show where the kitchens had 
been. Mats of bast, straw, and reeds abound in the 
settlements, and show that the lakemen had their 
notions of cosiness and comfort. Large crescent- 

' There are two distinct kinds of settlement, but we are here dealing 
with the first or earlier kind. 


shaped talismans, carved on one side, were hung' over 
the entrances to the huts, showing pretty clearly that 
thi moon-goddess was worshipped. The prehistoric 
collections in the public museums at Zurich, Berne, 
Bienne, Neuchatel, and Geneva, not to speak of 
private collections, arc very extensive and very fine, 
containing tools, handsome weapons, knives of most 
exquisite shape and carving, women's ornaments, 
some of them of the most elegant kind. A " lady of 
the lake" in full dress would seem to have made an 
imposing show. An undergarment of fine linen was 
girded at the waist by a broad belt of inlaid or em- 
bossed bronze work. Over the shoulders was thrown 
a woollen cloak fastened with bronze clasps, or pins, 
whilst neck, arms, and ankles were decked with a 
great store of trinkets — necklaces, anklets, bracelets, 
rings, spangles, and so forth. The whole was set off 
by a diadem of long pins with large heads beautifully 
chiselled, and inlaid with beads of metal or glass, 
these pins being stuck through a sort of leathern 
fillet which bound up the hair. So beautiful are some 
of the trinkets, that imitations of them in gold are in 
request by the ladies of to-day. 

It is curious to find that one of the most extensive 
lake colonies in Switzerland is situated in and spread 
over the vast marshes of Robenhausen (Zurich) which 
once formed part of Lake Pfaffikon. The visitor who 
is not deterred by the inconvenience of a descent into 
a damp and muddy pit some 1 1 feet deep, where 
excavations are still being carried on, finds himself 
facing three successive settlements, one above another, 
and all belonging to the remote stone age. Between 

(Copied by permission from "Harper's Magazine") 


the successive settlements are layers of turf, some 
3 feet thick, the growth of many centuries. The turf 
itself is covered by a stratum of sticky matter, 4 inches 
thick. In this are numbers of relics embedded, both 
destructible and indestructible objects being perfectly 
well preserved, the former kept from decay through 
having been charred by fire. The late Professor Heer 
discovered and analysed remains of more than a 
hundred different kinds of plants. Grains, and even 
whole ears of wheat and barley, seeds of strawberries 
and raspberries, dried apples, textile fabrics, imple- 
ments, hatchets of nephrite — this mineral and the 
Oriental cereals show clearly enough that the lake- 
men traded with the East, though no doubt through 
the Mediterranean peoples — spinning-wheels, corn- 
squeezers, floorings, fragmentary walls — all these are 
found in plenty, in each of the three layers. The 
topmost settlement, however, contains no destructible 
matters, such as corn, fruits, &c. This is to be ac- 
counted for by the fact that the two lower settlements 
were destroyed by fire, and the uppermost one by the 
growth of the turf, or by the rising marshes. In the 
latter case there was no friendly action of fire to 
preserve the various objects. 

The scholar's mind is at once carried back to the 
account given by Herodotus of Thrakian lake- 
dwellers. 1 The people of this tribe, he tells us, built 
their houses over water, so as to gain facilities for 
fishing. They used to let down baskets through trap- 
doors in the floors of their huts, and these baskets 
rapidly filled with all kinds of fish that had gathered 
around, tempted by the droppings of food. 

1 Herod, v. 16. 


Though the lakemen depended chiefly on the 
water for their supply of food, yet they were hunters, 
and great tillers of the ground as well as fishermen. 
They grew wheat and barley, and k^pt horses, cattle, 
sheep, and goats. The women spun flax and wool, 
and wove them into fabrics for clothing. Their 
crockery was at first of a very primitive description, 
being made of black clay, and showing but little finish 
or artistic design. But the children were not for- 
gotten, for they were supplied with tiny mugs and 
cups. 1 

With regard to the date when the immigration of 
lakemen began the savants are hopelessly at variance. 
Nor do they agree any better as to the dates of the 
stone and bronze epochs into which the history of the 
lake settlements divides itself. But as in some of the 
marshy stations these two epochs reach on to the age 
of iron, it is assumed by many authorities that the 
lake dwellers lived on to historical times. This is 
particularly shown in the alluvial soil and marshes 
between the lakes of Neuchatel and Bienne, Prefargier 
being one of the chief stations, where settlements 

1 The lake tribes of the bronze age, however, not only understood the 
use of copper and bronze, but were far more proficient in the arts than 
their predecessors. Some of the textile fabrics found are of the most 
complicated weaving, and some of the bronze articles are of most 
exquisite chiselling, though these were probably imported from Italy, 
with which ccur.try the lake dwellers would seem to have had consider- 
able traffic. The earliest specimens of pottery are usually ornamented 
by mere rude nai! scratchings, but those of the bronze period have had 
their straight lines and curves made by a graving tool. In fact, the 
later tribes had become lovers of art for its own sake, and even the 
smallest articles of manufacture were decorated with designs of more or 
less elaboration and finish. 


(From a Photograph.) 


belonging to the stone, bronze, and iroir ages arc 
found ranged one above another in chronological 
order. In the topmost stratum or colony, the lake- 
men's wares are found mingling pell-mell with iron 
and bronze objects of Helvetian and Roman make, 
a fact sufficient, probably, to show that the lake 
dwellers associated with historical peoples. It would 
be useless as well as tedious to set forth at length all 
the theories prevailing as to the origin and age of the 
lake dwellings. Suffice it to say that, by some 
authorities, the commencement of the stone period is 
placed at six thousand, and by others at three thousand 
years before the Christian era, the latter being probably 
nearest the truth. As to the age of bronze, we may 
safely assign it to iioo-iooo B.C., for Professor Heer 
proves conclusively that the time of Homer — the 
Greek age of bronze — was contemporary with the 
bronze epoch of the lakemen. 1 

The Lake period would seem to have drawn to a 
close about 600-700 B.C., when trie age of bronze was 
supeiseded by that of iron. According to the most 
painstaking investigations made by Mr. Heierli, of 

' The products ol the soil seem to have been the same amongst the 
lakemen as amongst Homer's people. Both knew barley ami wheat, 
and neither of them knew rye. In their mode of dressing and pre- 
paring barley for food the two peoples concurred. It was not made 
into bread, but roasted to bring off the husk. And roasted barley is 
still a favourite article of diet in the Lower Engadine. The Creeks ate 
it at their sacrifices, and always took supplies of it when starting on a 
journey. So Telemachus asks his old nurse Kurykleia to till his goat 
skin with roasted barley when he sets out in search of his father. And 
young dreek brides were required to complete the stock of household 
belongings by providing on their marriage day a roasting vessel for 


Zurich, now the greatest authority on the subject in 
Switzerland, the lakemen left their watery settle- 
ments about the date just given, and began to fix 
their habitations on terra firnta. Various tombs 
already found on land would bear witness to this 
change. When these peculiar people had once come 
on shore to live they would be gradual 1)- absorbed 
into neighbouring and succeeding races, no doubt into 
some of the Celtic tribes, and most likely into the 
Helvetian peoples. Thus they have their part, how- 
ever small it may be, in the history of the Swiss 
nation. It must be added that the Pfahl-bauer are no 
longer held to have been a Celtic people, but are 
thought to have belonged to some previous race, 
though which has not as yet been ascertained. 

But enough has been written on the subject, 
perhaps. Yet, on the other hand, it would have been 
impossible to pass over the lakemen in silence, 
especially now when the important discoveries of 
similar lake settlements in East Yorkshire have drawn 
to the subject the attention of all intelligent English- 
speaking people. 1 

1 Those who wish to see pretty well all that can be said on the 
matter should read the valuable article in The Westminster Review, for 
j/unci too/. 



The history of a country often includes the history 
of many peoples, for history is a stage on which 
nations and peoples figure like individual characters, 
playing their parts and making their exits, others 
stepping into their places. And so the Swiss soil has 
been trodden by many possessors — Celts, Rhaetians, 
Alamanni, Burgundians, Franks. These have ail 
made their mark upon and contributed to the history 
of the Swiss nation, and must all figure in the earlier 
portions of our story. 

Dim are the glimpses we catch of the early 
condition of the Helvetians, but the mist that 
enshrouds this people clears, though slowly, at the 
end of the second century before Christ, when they 
came into close contact with the Romans who 
chronicled their deeds. The Helvetians themselves, 
indeed, though not ignorant of the art of writing, were 
far too much occupied in warfare to be painstaking 
annalists. At the Celto-Roman period of which we 
are treating, Helvetia comprised all the territory lying 
between Mount Jura, Lake Geneva, and Lake Con- 


stance, with the exception of Basle, which included 
Graubiinden, and reached into St. Gall and Glarus. 
It was parcelled out amongst many tribes, even as 
it is in our own day. The Helvetians, who had 
previously occupied all the land between the Rhine 
and the Main, had been driven south by the advanc- 
ing Germans, and had colonized the fertile plains and 
the lower hill grounds of Switzerland, leaving to 
others the more difficult Alpine regions. They split 
into four tribes, of which we know the names of three 
— the Tigunni, Toygeni, and Verbigeni. The first 
named seem to have settled about Lake Morat, with 
Aventicum (Avenches) as their capital. Basle was 
the seat of the Rauraci ; to the west of Neuchatel was 
that of the Sequani ; whilst Geneva belonged to the 
wild Allobroges. The Valais r district was inhabited 
Dy four different clans, and was known as the 
" Pcenihe valley," on account of the worship of Poeni- 
nus on the Great St. Bernard, where was a temple to 
the deity. In the Ticino were the Lepontines, a 
Ligurian tribe whose name still lingers in " Lepontine 
Alps.' The mountain fastnesses of the Grisons 
(Graubiinden) were held by the hardy Rhaetians, a 
Tuscan tribe, who, once overcome by the Romans, 
speedily adopted their speech and customs. 
Romantsch, a corrupt Latin, holds its own to this 
day in the higher and remoter valleys of that canton. 
All these tribes, except the two last mentioned, 
belonged to the great and martial family of the Celts, 
and of them all the wealthiest, the most valiant, and 

1 Valais (German, Wallis) means valley, and is so called from its 
being a long narrow dale or vale hemmed in by lofty mountains. 


the most conspicuous were the Helvetians. 1 Of the 
life and disposition of these Helvetians we know but 
little, but no doubt they bore the general stamp of 
the Celts. They managed the javelin more skilfully 
than the plough, and to their personal courage it is 
rather than to their skill in tactics that they owe their 
reputation as great warriors. But in course of time 
their character was greatly modified, and, owing 
probably to their secluded position, they settled down 
into more peaceful habits, and rose to wealth and 
honour, combining with their great powers a certain 
amount of culture. They practised the art of writing, 
having adopted the Greek alphabet, and gold, which 
was possibly found in their rivers, circulated freely 
amongst them. To judge from the relics found in 
Helvetian tumuli the Helvetians were fond of luxuries 
in the way of ornaments and fine armour, and they 
excelled in the art of working metals, especially 
bronze. They had made some progress in agriculture, 
and in the construction of their houses, and more 
especially of the walls that guarded their towns, 
which struck the Romans by their neatness and 
practicalness. Nor would this be to be wondered at 
if the old legends could be trusted, which tell us that 
Hercules himself taught the Helvetians to build, and 
likewise gave them their laws ; an allusion, no doubt, 
to the fact that culture came to them from the east, 
from the peoples around the Mediterranean. Besides 
many hamlets, they had founded no fewer than four 
hundred villages and twelve towns, and seem to have 
been well able to select tor their settlements the most 

1 Mommsen, " Roman History," vol. ii. p. 166. 


(From a drawing by Joseph Pennell.) 


picturesque and convenient spots. For many of their 
place-names have come down to us, in some cases but 
little changed. Thus of colonies we have Turicum 
(Zurich), Salodurum (Soleure), Vindonissa (Win- 
disch), Lousonium (Lausanne), and Geneva ; of 
rivers navigable or otherwise useful, Rhine, Rhone, 
Aar, Reuss, Thur ; of mountains, Jura and perhaps 
Camor. Disliking the hardships of Alpine life the 
Helvetians left the giant mountains to a sturdier race. 

The nature of their political code was republican, 
yet it was largely tinctured with elements of an 
aristocratic kind. Their nobles were wealthy landed 
proprietors, with numerous vassals, attendants, and 
slaves. In case their lord was impeached these 
retainers would take his part before the popular 
tribunal. The case of Orgetorix may be cited. He 
was a dynastic leader, and head over one hundred 
valley settlements ; his name appears on Helvetian 
silver coins as Orcitrix. He was brought to trial on 
a charge of aspiring to the kingship, and no fewer 
than a thousand followers appeared at the court to 
clear him, but vox populi vox dei, and the popular vote 
prevailed. Orgetorix was sentenced to die by fire, a 
punishment awarded to all who encroached upon the 
popular rights. 

Their form of religion was most probably that 
common to all the Celts, Druidical worship. Invested 
with power, civil and spiritual, the Druids held abso- 
lute sway over the superstitious Celtic tribes. Proud 
as the Celts were of their independence, they yet 
were incapable of governing themselves because of 
the perpetual dissensions amongst the tribes ; and 



they were overawed by the intellectual superiority oi 
a priesthood that professed all the sciences of the 
age — medicine, astrology, soothsaying, necromancy — 
and had taken into its hands the education of the 
young. The common people were mere blind de- 
votees, and rendered unquestioning obedience to the 
decrees of the Druids. Uruidism was, in fact, the 
only power which could move the whole Celtic race, 
and could knit together the Celts of the Thames and 
those of the Garonne and Rhone, when they met at 
the great yearly convocation at Chartres, then the 
"Metropolis of the Earth." Human sacrifice was 
one of the most cruel and revolting features of the 
Druidical religion. 

The Celts were a peculiarly gifted people, though 
differing greatly from the contemporary Greeks and 
Romans. They had been a governing race before 
the Romans appeared on the stage, and wrested from 
them the leading part. They had overrun the whole 
world, so to speak, casting about for a fixed home, 
and spread as far as the British Isles, making Gaul 
their religious and political centre, and settled down 
into more peaceful habits. Driven by excess of 
population, or their unquenchable thirst for war, or 
simply their nomadic habits — one cannot otherwise 
account for their retrogression — they migrated east- 
wards whence they came — to Italy, Greece, and Asia 
Minor — demanding territory, and striking terror into 
every nation they approached by their warlike habits. 
They knocked at the gates of Rome, and the Gala- 
tians were conspicuous by their atrocities.' . Brilliant 

1 " Story of Alexander's Empire," by Mahaffy, p. 79. 


qualities and great national faults had been their 
peculiar characteristics. Quick-witted they were, 
highly intelligent, ingenious, frank, versatile ; attach- 
ing much value to gloirc, and esprit ; susceptible 
of and accessible to every impression, skilled handi- 
craftsmen ; but inclined to be vain, boastful, and 
fickle-minded, averse to order and discipline, and 
lacking in perseverance and moral energy. This, 
according to both ancient and modern writers, was 
their character. They failed to create a united 
empire, and to resist their deadly enemy, Rome. 

What they did excel in was fighting. Dressed in 
gaudy costume — wide tunic, bright plaid, and toga 
embroidered with silver and gold — the Celtic noble 
would fight by preference in single combat, to show off 
to personal advantage, but in the brunt of battle he 
threw away his clothing to fight unimpeded. Bituitus, 
king of the Arverni, attired in magnificent style, 
mounts his silver chariot, and, preceded by a harper 
and a pack of hounds, goes to meet Caesar in battle, 
and win his respect and admiration. 

The Helvetians were peaceful neighbours to Italy 
so long as they did not come into direct contact with 
the Romans, but on the Rhine they were engaged in 
daily feuds with the German tribes, who had driven 
them from their settlements in the Black Forest, and 
had continued their raids beyond the river. For the 
sake of plunder, or from mere restless habits, the 
Germans had left their northern homes on the Baltic 
and North Seas, the Cimbri, and their brethren, the 
Teutons and others, and were slowly moving south- 
ward, repelling or being in turn repelled. The most 


daring crossed the Rhine, and made their way straight 
through the lands of the Belgians and Helvetians 
towards the South, thereby anticipating the great 
dislocation of peoples which was to take place but 
five hundred years later, when the Roman Empire, 
sapped at the root, crumbled to pieces, unable longer 
to resist the tide of barbarian invasion. 

On one of these expeditions the Cimbri, giving a 
glowing account of sunny Gaul, and the booty to be 
obtained there, were joined by the Helvetian Tigurini, 
whose leader was the young and fiery Divico (B.C. 107;. 
They started with the intention of founding a new 
home in the province of the Nitiobroges in Southern 
Gaul ; but when they had reached that territory they 
were suddenly stopped on the banks of the Garonne 
by a Roman army under the consul Cassius and his 
lieutenant Piso. But, little impressed by the military 
fame of the Romans, the Tigurini, lying in ambush, 
gave battle to the forces of great Rome, and utterly 
routed them at Agen, on the Garonne, between 
Bordeaux and Toulouse. It was a brilliant victory ; 
both the Roman leaders and the greater part of their 
men were slain, and the rest begged for their lives. 
The proud Romans were under the humiliating 
necessity of giving hostages and passing under the 
yoke — a stain on the Roman honour not to be for- 
gotten ; but the victors, being anything but diplomats, 
knew no better use to make of their splendid victory 
than to wander about for a time and then go home 

A few years later (102 and 101 B.C.) the Tigurini, 
Toygeni, Cimbri, and Teutons joined their forces on 


a last expedition southwards. The expedition ended 
in the destruction of these German tribes. The 
Toygeni perished in the fearful carnage at Aquae 
Sextiae, and the Cimbri later on at Vercellae. When 
the Tigurini heard of this last-mentioned disaster 
they returned home. 

Caesar had been appointed governor of the Province 
(Provence) which extended to Geneva, the very door 
of Helvetia ; on the Rhine the Germans continued to 
make their terrible inroads. Thus there was but little 
scope for the stirring Helvetians, and the soil afforded 
but a scanty supply of food ; so they turned their 
eyes wistfully in the direction of fair Gaul. Meeting 
in council they decided on a general migration, 
leaving their country to whoever might like to take 
it. Then rose up Orgetorix, one of their wealthiest 
nobles, and supported the plan, volunteering to 
secure a free passage through the neighbouring pro- 
vinces of the Allobroges and ^Edui. The 28th of 
March, B.C. 58, was the day fixed for the departure, 
and Geneva was to be the meeting-place ; thence 
they were to proceed through the territory of the 
Allobroges. For two years previously they were to 
get ready their provisions, and to collect carts, horses, 
and oxen, but before the period had expired Orgetorix 
was accused of treason, and being unable to clear 
himself, put an end to his own life to escape public 
obloquy. This episode made no difference in the 
general plan. The Helvetians, indeed, insisted on its 
being carried out. Setting fire to their towns and 
villages to prevent men from returning, they started 
on their adventurous journey on that spring morn of 


58 B.C. Caesar's figures seem very large, but, if he is 
to be trusted, the tribes numbered some 368,000 men, 
of which 263,000 were Helvetians, the rest being 
neighbours of theirs. But 93,000 were capable of 
bearing arms. 

A curious yet thrilling sight must have been that 
motley caravan of prodigious proportions — ten thou- 
sand carts drawn by forty thousand oxen, carrying 
women, children, and the old men; riders and armour- 
bearers alongside, toiling painfully through woods and 
fords, and up and down rugged hills ; behind the 
emigrants the smoking and smoulderings ruins of the 
homes they were leaving with but little regret. Yet 
they were no mere adventurers, but looked forward 
with swelling hearts to a brighter time and a more 
prosperous home. Arriving at Geneva they found 
the bridge over the Rhone broken up by Caesar's 
order. Caesar was, in truth, a factor they had not 
reckoned upon, and, after useless attempts to make 
headway, they turned their steps towards Mount Jura, 
and whilst they were toiling over the steep and rugged 
Pas de l'Ecluse, Caesar returned to Italy to gather 
together his legions. Returning to Gaul he arrived 
just in time to see the Helvetians cross the Arar 
(Saone) with the utmost difficulty. The Tigurini 
were the last to cross. And on them Caesar fell and 
cut them down, thus avenging the death of Piso — 
the great-grandfather of Caesar's wife — and wiping 
out the stain on the honour of the Roman arms. His 
legions crossed the Saone in twenty- four hours, and 
this performance so excited the admiration of the 
Helvetians, who had themselves taken twenty days to 


cross, that they condescended to send legates to treat 
with Caesar for a free passage. They promised him 
that they would do no harm to any one if he would 
comply with the request, but threatened that if he 
should intercept them he might have to see something 
of their ancient bravery. No threats or entreaties 
were of avail, however, with such a man as Caesar, 
who, smiling at their naive simplicity, asked them 
to gives hostages as a sign of confirmation of their 
promise. " Hostages ! " cried Divico, the hero of 
of Agen, in a rage, " the Helvetians are not ac- 
customed to give hostages ; they have been taught 
by their fathers to receive hostages, and this the 
Romans must well remember." So saying he walked 

The Helvetians continued their march, Caesar 
following at a distance, watching for an opportunity 
of attacking them. At Bibracte, an important city 
of Gaul (now Mont Beuvray), west of Autun in 
Burgundy, the opportunity offered itself. Caesar 
seized a hill and posted his troops there, and charged 
the enemy with his cavalry. The Helvetians fiercely 
repulsed the attack, and poured on the Roman front, 
but were quite unable to stand against the showers 
of the Roman pila, which often penetrated several 
shields at once, and thus fastened them together so 
that they could not be disentangled. Disconcerted 
by this unexpected result, the Helvetians were soon 
discomfited by the sharp attack with swords which 
instantly followed. Retiring for a while to a hill close 
by, the barbarians again drew up in battle order, and 
again descended to combat. Long and fierce was the 


struggle which followed ; the Helvetians righting like 
lions till the evening, never once turning their backs 
on the enemy. This is Caesar's own report. But 
barbarian heroism was no match for the regular, well- 
organized, and highly-trained Roman army, and once 
more driven back, they withdrew to the hill where had 
been left their wives and children with the baggage. 
From this place they ventured to make a last resist- 
ance, and they drew up their carts in the form of a 
deep square, leaving room in the middle for the non- 
combatants and the baggage. Then mounting their 
extemporized fort — the so-caAled Wagenburg — the 
Helvetian men commenced the fray, even their women 
and children hurling javelins at the enemy. Not till 
midnight did the Romans seize and enter on the rude 
rampart, and when they did the clashing of arms had 
ceased. All the valiant defenders lay slain at their 
feet, and the spirit of bold independence of the 
Helvetians was crushed for ever. 

After this fearful disaster the rest of the emigrants, 
to the number of 110,000, continued their march 
through Gaul, but lacking both food and capable 
leaders, and being moreover ill-used by the Gauls, 
they sent to Caesar for help. He demanded hostages, 
and ordered them to return home and rebuild their 
towns and villages. And, further, he supplied them 
with food for the journey, and requested the 
Allobroges to do the same when the Helvetians 
should arrive in their province. Caesar admits that 
this apparent generosity on his part was dictated not 
by compassion, but by policy. It was to his interest 
that these barbarians should re-occupy Helvetia, 

cjbsar's policy. 25 

because they would keep watch on the Rhine, and 
prevent the irruption of the Germans into the country. 
In their condition now, he calls the Helvetians 
Associates {fccderati), and not Subjects, and leaves 
them their own constitution, and, to some extent, 
their freedom. But they did not relish this forced 
friendship, which was indeed more like bondage ; and 
when the Celts of Gaul rose in revolt under the noble 
and beloved Vercingetorix, who had been a friend of 
Caesar, they joined their brethren (52 B.C.), and were 
again vanquished. On the defeat of the Helvetians 
at Bibracte followed that of the Valisians, in 57 B.C. 
To establish a direct communication between Central 
Gaul and Italy, Csesar took those same measures 
which Napoleon I. employed long afterwards ; he 
conquered the Yalais (by his lieutenant Galba), that 
he might secure the passage of the Great St. Bernard. 
A splendid road was formed over Mount Pceninus, 
and a temple erected to Jupiter Pceninus, where the 
traveller left votive tablets as a thanksgiving offering 
after a fortunate ascent. 

The subjugation of Rhaetia was delayed for more 
than a generation. To guard the empire against the 
Eastern hordes ; against the mountain robbers of 
Graubundcn and the Tyrol, who descended into the 
valleys of the Po, ravaging the country as far as 
Milan, and no doubt liberally paying back in their 
own coin, the Romans who had made from time to 
time such havoc in the Alpine homes — to guard 
against these, and the wild Vindelicians of Bavaria, 
Augustus sent the two imperial princes to reduce 
them to subjection. Drusus marched into the Tyrol, 


whilst Tiberius advanced on Lake Constance, where 
even the Rhaetian women engaged in the conflict, 
and, in default of missiles, hurled their sucking chil- 
dren into the face of the conquerors, through sheer 
exasperation. Their savage courage availed them 
nothing, however ; the incursions from the East 
were repressed ; and once the Rhaetians were overcome, 
they became the most useful of auxiliaries to the 
Roman army. Horace's ode to Urusus alludes to the 
Rhaetian campaign. 

The Rhaeto-Roman inhabitants of Graublinden — for 
they still occupy the high valleys of the Engadine and 
of the Vorder-Rhine — present much interest in point 
of language and antiquities. The sturdy Rhaetians 
belonged to the art-loving Etruscan race, whose 
proficiency in the amphora-technic we so highly value. 
An old legend calls their ancestor Raetus a Tuscan. 
And not without show of reason, says Mommsen, 
for the early dwellers of Graublinden and the Tyrol 
were Tuscans, and spoke a dialect agreeing with that 
of the district of Mantua, a Tuscan colony in the time 
of Livy. In Graublinden and Ticino were found, 
some thirty years ago, stones bearing inscriptions in 
that dialect. The Rhaetians may have dropped 
behind in these Alpine regions on the immigration 
of Etruscans into the valleys of the Po ; or, they may 
just as likely have fled there on the advent of the 
Celts, when that warlike race seized on the fertile 
plains of the river, and drove the Etruscans from their 
home southward and northward. Be that as it may, 
however, it is certain that the Rhaetians, once blended 
with the Romans, have preserved the Latin tongue 

3 * 

g «: 


and customs to this day, for Romantsch a corrupt 
Latin, with no doubt some admixture of Tuscan, is 
still spoken by more than one-third of the population 
of the Grisons. 



ON the surrender of the noble Vercingetorix, a 
valiant knight, but no statesman — he delivered him- 
self up to Caesar, trusting in his generosity on the 
plea of former friendship, and died a prisoner of 
Rome — the war with Gaul was virtually at an end. 

{Dr. Imhoof, Winterthur. ) 

The sporadic risings that followed lacked the spirit 
of union, and led to no results of any consequence. 
During the seven years of his governorship in Gaul 
(58-5 1 B.C.), Caesar had completed the subjection of the 
entire country, with the exception of the province of 
Xarbonensis, whose conquest was of more ancient 
date. He followed up his victories, and secured their 
results by organizing a line of secure defences on the 


northern boundary of Gaul, along the Rhine, creating 
thereby a new system of open defences — defences 
offensive, so to speak — which he sketched out with 
full details, and made Gaul herself a bulwark against 
the inroads of the aggressive Germans. To secure 
peace and voluntary submission, he also regulated the 
internal affairs of the new province, leaving her, how- 
ever, most of her old national institutions, hoping by 
conciliator)' measures to gradually bring her under 
Roman influences, and win her to side with Rome. 
But it was left to others to carry out his plans, the 
Emperor Augustus being the first to put them into 
practice ; for civil war was again threatening Italy, 
and Caesar returned home to carry on his great 
contest with Pompey for supremacy in the State. 

Although Csesar's plans were but a sketch they 
were faithfully carried out, and the Gallic conquest 
proved to be more, and aimed higher, than the mere 
subjection of the Celts. Caesar was not only a great 
general, but also a far-seeing politician. He had 
clearly understood that the barbarian Germans might 
well prove more than a match for the Greek-Latin 
world if they came into close contact with it. His 
defeat of Ariovistus, who was on the point of forming 
a German kingdom in Gaul, and his wise measures 
of defence, kept the barbarian hordes at bay for 
centuries, and thus there was ample time given for 
the Greek-Latin culture to take root throughout the 
West. It happened consequently that when Rome 
could no longer offer any serious resistance, and the 
Germans poured into her lands, the people of the 
West were already Romanized, and those of Gaul, 


Britain, and Spain, became the medium of transmitting 
to the Germans the spirit of classicism, by which they 
would otherwise have hardly been affected ; and 
those nations became the connecting link between the 
classical age and the German era which absorbed its 
high-wrought culture. If Alexander may be said to 
have spread Hellenism over the East ; Caesar may be 
taken to have done as much, and indeed vastly more 
for the West, for it is owing to him, though we can 
scarcely realize the fact in our day, that the German 
race is imbued with the spirit of classical antiquity. 

The fall of Caesar, and the state of anarchy that 
followed again, delayed the work of pacification, and 
Helvetia was left to take care of herself. But when 
Augustus was firmly seated on the imperial throne, 
he resumed the task which had been bequeathed to 
him. The organization of Gaul was chiefly his work, 
and it required an energetic yet moderate policy, 
The old Narbonensis district, which had long been 
moulded into a Roman pro\ ince, was placed under 
senatorial control. New Gaul, or Gallia Comata (Gaiile 
Clieveluc], as the whole territory was called which 
Caesar had conquered, was submitted to imperial 
authority, and treated more adequately in accordance 
with the ancient constitutions of the various tribes. 
To facilitate taxation and administration New Gaul 
was divided into three provinces, each ruled by a 
Roman governor. Of these three provinces, one was 
Bclgica, extending from the Seine and the mouth of 
the Rhine to Lake Constance, thus including Helvetia 
proper. Belgica, on account of its size, was subdivided 
into three commands, in one of which, that of Upper 


Germany, Helvetia found itself placed. Thus we find 
Helvetia incorporated with Gaul. 

The political capital of the Tres Galliae, or Three 
Gauls, was Lugdunum (Lyons), owing to its central 
position, and it seems to have been a very important 
city. Here Drusus had raised an altar to his imperial 
father, Augustus, and the Genius of the City. Here 
met the representatives of the sixty-four Gallic 
states (including those of the Helvetians and the 
Rauraci) on the anniversary of the emperor. Here, 
too, was the seat of the Gallic Diet ; and here, in the 
amphitheatre, took place rhetorical contests, the Celts 
holding eloquence in high honour. 

Eastern Switzerland, that is, Graubiinden, and the 
land around Lake Wallenstatt, as far as Lake Con- 
stance, was joined with Rhaetia, which likewise 
included, amongst other districts, the Tyrol and 
Southern Bavaria. The whole of this territory was 
ruled by a governor residing at Augusta Vindelicorum 
(Augsburg). The Valais district was joined to some 
part of Savoy, and ruled by the procurator of the 
Pcenine Alps. Ticino does not concern us here, as 
it remained a portion of Italy down to the sixteenth 

Yet though thus arbitrarily made a part of Gaul, 
Helvetia formed a separate district, and had its own 
history and kept its own constitution, thanks to 
Caesar's wise and generous policy, by which he pro- 
vided that the Celts should not be interfered with in 
their method of governing by tribes (pagi or civitates), 
nor in their constitution, so long as it did not clash 
with the Roman laws. When Caesar had defeated the 


Helvetians he sent them back to rebuild their old 
homes, and they re-occupied their ancient territory, 
with the exception of that portion which stretches 
from Fort l'Ecluse to Geneva and Aubonne, and 
borders on Mount Jura. This portion was wrenched 
away and given to the Equestrian Julian colony 
settled at Noviodunum (Nyon) on Geneva lake, to 
keep the passes of the mountain (43 B.C.). The Jura 
range separated Helvetia from the territory of the 
Rauraci, where another veteran colony was about the 
same time established as a safeguard for the Rhine, 
to check the incursions of the Germans. The Colonia 
Rauracorum was afterwards called Augusta Raura- 
corum in honour of the emperor. The colonists of 
these two settlements were mostly Romans, or had 
been admitted to Roman citizenship, and occupied a 
different position from the inhabitants of the country 
generally, for they were allowed Roman privileges 
and favours — exemption from taxation most likely 
amongst others — but, on the other hand, they were 
entirely dependent on the Roman Government. 

The laborious investigations of the learned 
Mommscn and Charles Morel go to show that the 
Helvetians were mildly treated by their masters. 
They had been received into the Roman pale as 
friends { focderati), and as such lived on favourable 
terms with these, and enjoyed as high a degree of 
liberty and autonomy as was compatible with their 
position as Roman subjects. The Rhaetians had been 
taken from their country ; the Helvetii, on the con- 
trary, had been sent back home and entrusted with the 
guardianship of the Rhine, merely being required to 



furnish a contingent for service abroad. They were 
allowed to maintain garrisons of their own — that of 
Tenedo on the Rhine, for instance — to build forts, tc 
raise militia in case of war. And, as has before been 
mentioned, their religious worship was not interfered 
with, nor their traditional division into /#£•/, or tribes, 
and they were allowed a national representative at 
the Gallic capital, Lyons. Helvetia took the rank 
of a state (Civitas Hclvctioruni), its chief seat {chef- 
liev) being Aventicum, which was also the centre of 
government. So long as Helvetia conformed to the 
regulations imposed by the imperial government she 

(By Dr. Imhoof, Winterthur.) 

was allowed to manage her own local affairs. Latin 
was made the official language, though the native 
tongue was not prohibited. 

A.D. 69-79. Under Vespasian, however, a great 
change took place. Thanks to the munificence of that 
emperor, who had a great liking for Aventicum, this 
city lost its Celtic character, and was made a splendid 
city after the Italian type. He had sent there his 
befriended and faithful Flavian colony of the Hel- 
vetians to live, giving her the lengthy title of Colonia 
Pia Flavia Constans Emerita Helvetiorum Fcederata 
in return for services, for she had staunchly supported 


his party against Vitellius when the latter contended 
with Galba for the imperial throne. The inhabitants 
most likely received the Latin Right {Droit Latin), or 
were considered Roman citizens, and as such were 
more intimately connected with Rome, and had to 
submit to closer control. Her institutions were 
assimilated to those of Italian towns. She had a 
senate, a council of decuriones, city magistrates, a 
pmfectiis operum publicorum (or special officer to 
attend to the construction of public buildings), 
Augustan flamens, or priests, and so forth. 

Notwithstanding the overwhelming importance of 
Aventicum, a certain amount of self-government was 
left to the country districts, towns, and villages (vici). 
The inhabitants of Vindonissa (Windisch), Aquae 
(Baden), Eburodunum (Yverdon),Salodurum(Soleure), 
erected public buildings of their own accord. The 
towns of the Valais, Octodurum '(Martigny),' Sedu- 
num (Sion), &c, had their own city council and 
municipal officers, and received the Latin Right. In 
the case of the Helvetians, those of the capital and 
those of the provinces equally enjoyed that Right ; 
whereas, with Augusta Rauracorum, the case was 
different, only the colonists within the walled cities 
being granted the like standing and liberties. On the 
whole it may be said that, though Helvetia kept many 
of her own peculiarities, and some of her ancient 
liberties, she submitted to Rome, and was greatly 
influenced by the advanced civilization of the empire. 
The Helvetians, indeed, underwent that change of 
speech and character, which split them into two 
nations, French and Germans. 


One of the chief factors contributing to the Roman 
colonization of Helvetia was the military occupation 
of its northern frontier, though this occupation 
weighed heavily on the country. The great object of 
Rome was to keep back the Germans, who were for 
ever threatening to break into the empire. Vindo- 
nissa was one of the military headquarters, and its 
selection for the purpose was justified by its excellent 
position, situated as it was on an elevated neck of 
land, washed by three navigable rivers, the Aare, 
Reuss, and Limmat, and at the junction of the two 
great roads connecting East and West Helvetia with 
Italy. A capital system of roads, too, was planned 
all over the country. 

There would no doubt often be but little love lost 
between the Helvetians and the soldiery in occupa- 
tion. Tacitus (" Annals ") tells of one bloody episode. 
After the death of the madman Nero, the twenty-first 
legion, surnamed Rapax, or Rapacious, no doubt for 
good reasons, was quartered at Vindonissa. Cascina, 
a violent man, lieutenant of Vitellius, then commander 
of the Rhine army, marched into Helvetia to proclaim 
Vitellius emperor. But the Helvetians supported his 
opponent Galba, not knowing that he had just been 
murdered, and fell upon the messengers of Caecina, 
and put them in prison, after first seizing their letters. 
The lieutenant enraged at this affront laid waste the 
neighbouring Aquae (Baden near Zurich), a flourish- 
ing watering-place much frequented for its amuse- 
ments, Tacitus tells us. Calling in the Rhaetian 
cohorts, he drove them to the Bcetzberg, and cut them 
down by thousands in the woods and fastnesses of 


Mount Jura ; then, ravaging the country as he went, 
Caecina marched on to Aventicum, which at once 
surrendered. Alpinus, a notable leader, was put to 
death, and the rest were left to the clemency of 
Vitellius. However, the Roman soldiery demanded 
the destruction of the nation, but Claudius Cossus, a 
Helvetian of great eloquence, moving them to tears 
by his touching words, they changed their minds, 
and begged that the Helvetians might be set at 

However this military occupation was, after sixty 
years of duration, drawing to a close. Under Domi- 
tian and Trajan all the land between Strasburg and 
Augsburg, as far as the Main, was conquered and 
annexed to the Roman Empire. An artificial ram- 
part was formed across country from the mouth of 
the Main to Regensburg on the Danube, and the 
military cordon was removed from the Swiss frontier 
to the new boundary line. Helvetia, now no longer 
the rendezvous of the Roman legionaries, quietly 
settled into a Roman province, where the language, 
customs, art, and learning of Rome were soon to be 

If the military stations were starting-points of the 
new culture, it was the more peaceful immigrants who 
introduced agriculture, commerce, and wealth, or, at 
any rate, caused it to make progress. Gradually the 
Helvetians amalgamated with the Romans, adopting 
even their religion. Horticulture and vine-culture 
were introduced. A Roman farmer grew vines on a 
patch of ground near Cully, on Lake Geneva, and on 
an inscribed stone (dug up at St. Prex) begs Bacchus 


{Liber Pater Cocliensis) to bless the vintage. He 
little anticipated that his plantation would be the 
ancestor, as it were, of the famous La Cote, now so 
highly valued. 

Wherever the art-loving Roman fixed his abode he 
built his house, with the wonderful Roman masonry, 
and furnished it with all the luxury and art his refined 
taste suggested. Thus the country gradually assumed 
a Roman aspect. Many towns and vici, or village 
settlements, sprang up or increased in importance 
under Roman influence — Zurich, Aquae (Baden near 
Zurich , Kloten, Vindonissa, and others. 1 Yet the 
eastern portion of the country could not compete in 
the matter of fine buildings with the western cantons. 
Indeed, in the eastern districts the Helvetian influence 
was never predominated over by the Latin influence, 
and the Helvetians clung to their native speech 
despite the Latin tongue being the official language. 

But it was the mild and sunny west which most 

attracted the foreigner, as it still does. Wealthy 

Romans settled in great numbers between Mount 

Jura and the Pennine ranges. Every nook and corner 

of the Canton Vaud bears even down to our days the 

stamp of Roman civilization. The shores and sunny 

slopes of Geneva lake were strewn with villas, and 

the woody strip of land between Villeneuve and 

Lausanne and Geneva was almost as much in request 

for country seats by the great amongst the Romans 

as that delightful stretch of coast on the Bay of 

1 We know little of them, most likely they were but vici (village 
settlements). Aquce alone we know from Tacitus was a city-like 
watering-place ; Kloten had handsome villas, but what it was we do not 


Naples, from Posilippo to Pozzuoli and Baiae, where 
Cicero and Virgil, and many Romans of lesser mark, 
had their villegiatures. 

But the most remarkable place, whether for art, 
learning, or opulence, was Aventicum, the Helvetian 
capital. Of this town some mention has been made 
above, and, did space permit, a full description might 
well be given of this truly magnificent and truly 
Roman city. Its theatre, academy, senate-house, 
courts, palaces, baths, triumphal arches, and private 
buildings were wonderful. Am. Marcellinus, the 
Roman writer, who saw Aventicum shortly after its 
partial destruction by the Alamanni, greatly admired 
its palaces and temples, even in their semi-ruinous 
condition. The city next in beauty and size 
was Augusta Rauracorum (Basel Augstj, where the 
ruins of a vast amphitheatre still command our 
wondering admiration. 

But this period of grandeur was followed by the 
gradual downfall of the empire, which was already 
rotten at the core. The degenerate Romans of the 
later times were unable to stand against the attacks 
of the more vigorous Germans. The story is too long 
to tell in detail, but a few points may be briefly noted. 
In 264 A.D. the Alamanni swept through the country 
on their way to Gaul, levelling Augusta Rauracorum 
with the ground, and considerably injuring Aventicum. 
At the end of the third century the Romans relin- 
quished their rampart between the Rhine and the 
Danube, and fell back upon the old military frontier 
of the first century. Helvetia thus underwent a 
second military occupation. Yet the prestige of Rome 


was gone. In 305 A.D. the Alamanni again overran 
Helvetia, and completed the ruin of Aventicum. 
Weaker and weaker grew the Roman power, and 
when the Goths pressed into Italy the imperial troops 
were entirely withdrawn from Helvetia. As for the 
Helvetians themselves, they were quite unable to offer 
any resistance, and when the Alamanni once more 
burst into the land (406 A.D.), they were able to 
secure entire possession of the eastern portions. The 
Burgundians, another German tribe, followed suit, 
and in 443 A.D. fixed themselves in West Helvetia. 
The inaccessible fastnesses of Graubiinden alone re- 
mained untouched by the tide of German invasion, 
which effected such changes in the neighbouring 

At this period of worldly grandeur and internal 
decay, occurs another historical event of the greatest 
importance, the rise of Christianity, containing the 
vital elements necessary for bringing about the 
spiritual regeneration of the world. The social and 
political decomposition throughout the empire, the 
cruel tyranny of the sovereigns, the decrepitude of 
the state and its institutions, the growing indiffe- 
rence to the national religion, which showed itself in the 
facile adoption of, or rather adaptation to, the Eastern 
forms of worship — the adoption of the deities Isis and 
Mithra, for example — all these and many other things 
unnecessary to mention, were unmistakable signs 
that Roman rule was drawing to its close, and they 
also prepared the way for the reception of the new 
doctrine. The belief in one God of mercy and love ; 
of oae Saviour, the Redeemer of the world ; of a 


future life, — were startling but good tidings to the poor 
and oppressed, and made their influence felt also 
on the rich and cultivated, who saw in Christianity 
a tolerance, benevolence, human love, loftiness of 
principle and moral perfection which had not been 
attained by the creeds of antiquity. The passionate 
ardour and force of conviction amongst the Christians 
was such that they faced suffering and death rather 
than abjure their tenets or desist from preaching them 
to others. 

The accounts of the introduction of Christianity 
into Switzerland are mostly legendary, yet it is 
generally believed that it was not the work of special 
missionaries. It is more likely that the new faith 
came to the land as part and parcel of the Roman 
culture. Indeed this is now the opinion most generally 
received. The military operations of the empire 
required continual changes of locality on the part of 
the troops ; thus we find Egyptian, Numidian, and 
Spanish soldiers quartered on the Rhine and the 
Danube, and such as they would most probably be 
the first to bring in the new faith. 

At first the Roman authorities looked upon Chris- 
tians as state rebels, and fierce persecutions followed. 
The oldest Christian legend of this country tells of such 
a conflict between the state officials and the Christians, 
and no doubt contains some admixture of truth, as 
many of these stories do. A legion levied at Thebes 
in Egypt — hence called the Thcba'ide — was sent to 
Cologne to take the place of troops required to quell 
a rising in Britain. Coming to the Valais, they were 
required by the Emperor Maximian to sacrifice to 



the heathen gods (A. I). 280-300), but being mostly 
Christians they refused, and were massacred with their 
chief, Mauritius. Some, however, escaped for the 
time, but were called upon to receive the martyr's 
crown later on, and in other places. Two such, Ursus 
and Victor, came to Soleurc with sixty-six com- 
panions, and were put to death by order of Hirtaeus, 
the Roman governor. Two others, Felix and his 
sister Regula, reached Zurich, where their successful 
conversions irritated Decius, who put them to the 
rack, and then beheaded them. Yet, wonderful to tell, 
the legend goes on, they seized their heads that had 


sanctus carolus). [By Dr hnhoof, Winterthur.) 

fallen, and, walking with them to the top of a hill 
close by, buried themselves, bodies and heads too. 
This wonderful feat was an exact counterpart of that 
reported to have been performed also by Ursus and 
Victor at Soleurc. Felix and Regula became the 
patron saints of Zurich, and play a conspicuous part 
in its local history. Tradition says that Charlemagne 
himself in later days erected a minster on their burial- 
spot. Thus, as ever, the blood of martyrs became the 
seed of the Church. 

The Roman towns Geneva, St. Maurice, Augusta 
Rauracorum, Avertticum, Vindonissa, and Curia had 


been episcopal sees since the fourth century, though 
some of these sees were in process of time removed 
to other places. Thus, Augusta, Vindonissa, and St 
Maurice were removed to Basel, Constance, and Sion 




The fifth century was remarkable for what may be 
called the dislocation of the peoples of Europe — the 
migrations of the Germans into the Roman Empire, 
and, mightiest movement of all, the irruption of the 
Huns under their terrible king Attila, the " Scourge 
of God." The mere sight of the hideous Asiatics 
filled men with horrot. Never afoot, but ever on 
their ill-shaped but rapid steeds , to whose backs they 
seemed as if they were glued, and on which they lived 
well-nigh day and night, it seemed as if man and 
horse had grown into one being. Their large heads 
ill-matched their meagre bodies ; their tawny faces 
with deep-set eyes and high, protruding cheek-bones 
made them resemble rough-cut figures in stone rather 
than human beings. The Goths regarded them as 
the offspring of spirits of the desert and of witches. 
These masses of Asiatic barbarism, which had burst 


into F^urope, stayed for awhile in Hungary, but soon 
rolled towards the West, dislodging all the peoples 
with whom they came in contact. Marching to the 
Rhine, they drove the Burgundians from their settle- 
ments in the district of Worms, a land so rich in song 
and saga, and entered Gaul to found a new kingdom. 
But the doom of the Huns was at hand, for Aetius 
the Roman general, and the last defender of the 
empire, defeated them, a.d. 451, in a truly gigantic 
battle on the Catalaunian Plain, in the Champagne 
country. The slaughter was so terrible that the 
saying went abroad that the river ran high with the 
blood of 300,000 men. 

But it was clear that the tottering empire could 
not defend itself against a whole world in commotion. 
The time had come when Rome was to leave the 
stage of history. The great German nation was 
forming. It would be tedious and profitless to men- 
tion all the German tribes beyond the Rhine and 
Danube, a well-nigh endless list of names, impossible 
to remember. Besides, the petty tribes and clans 
gradually formed alliances with each other for greater 
security, and, dropping their ancient names, took 
collective ones more familiar to our ears — Saxons, 
Franks, Thuringi, Burgundians, Alamanni, and 

Of these the Alamanni and the Burgundians are 
those from whom the Swiss are descended, and thus 
Switzerland, like England, has to look back to 
Germany as its ancestral home. The tall, fair-haired, 
true-hearted Alamanni for whom Caracalla had such 
an admiration that to be like them he wore a red wig, 


are said to have been descendants of the Semnones^ 
who had migrated from Lusatia on the Spree (in 
Silesia) to the Main. The name Alamanni is gene- 
rally held by the learned to be derived from alak, a 
temple-grove, and implies a combination of various 
tribes, " the people of the Divine grove." The Suevi, 
of whom the Scmnones were the most conspicuous 
tribe, had a sacred grove in the district of the Spree, 
where they met for worship. In the fifth century we 
find the Alamanni occupying the district from the 
Main to the Black Forest, East Helvetia, and Alsatia 
as far as the Yosges. 

When this formidable horde took possession of 
Eastern Helvetia they found but little trouble from 
the Celto-Roman population, who, thinned by pre- 
vious invasions, and unaccustomed to fighting, could 
offer no serious resistance, and sank into slaves and 
servants.. The towns were laid in ruins, the country 
ravaged, and all culture trodden under foot. It 
seemed as if "the hand on the dial of history had 
been put back by centuries," x and civilization had 
once more to begin her work. They outnumbered the 
natives, and were not absorbed by them, but on the 
contrary on the half-decayed stock of the Roman 
province the Alamanni were grafted as a true German 
people, retaining their old language, institutions, and 
mode of living. 

The Alamanni did not at once develop into a 
civilized and cultivated people, but retained their 
fondness for war and hunting, and other character- 
istics of their ancient life. Their grand and majestic 

' Green's " Smaller History of England," p. 42. 


woods had stamped themselves on the intrepid, 
dauntless spirits, whose deep subjectiveness and truth- 
ful natures contrasts strongly with the polished artful- 
ness of the Romans. For the mighty aspects of nature 
— forest, mountain, sea — play their part in moulding 
the character of a nation. And their impenetrable 
woods had influenced the destinies of the Germans in 
the early periods of their history — had saved them 
from the Roman yoke, the labyrinths of swamp and 
river, defying even the forces of the well-nigh all- 
powerful empire. Then, too, when hard fighting was 
afoot, and men had burnt their homesteads before 
the advance of the foe, the vast forest formed a safe 
retreat for women and children. The original house, 
by the way, was a mere wooden tent on four posts, and 
could be carried off on carts that fitted underneath. 
The next stage was a hut in the style of the Swiss 
mountain-shed, but it was still movable— was, in fact, 
a chattel the more to be taken along on their wander- 
ings. 1 

Their mode of settling in their new country was 
curious enough, though the early settlement of 
England was very similar in character. Disliking 
walled towns of the Roman fashion, the Germans 
felt their freedom of movement impeded and their 
minds oppressed by living within the prison-like 
fortifications of strong cities. But loving seclusion 
and independence, nevertheless, they built extensive 
farmsteads, where each man was his own master. To 
the homestead were added fields, meadows, and an 
extensive farmyard ; the whole hedged about so as 

' Dahn, " Urgeschichte dcr Romanisch-germanischen Vulker." 


to keep the owner aloof from his neighbours. Each 
farmer pitched his tent wherever " spring or mead, 
or sylvan wood tempted him," reports Tacitus. This 
liking for seclusion on the part of the Germans is 
well shown in the case of Zurich, for at one time the 
canton had three thousand farm homesteads, as 
against a hundred hamlets and twelve villages. 

The mode of partitioning the land shows demo- 
cratic features. It was divided amongst the com- 
munity according to the size of families and herds of 
cattle, but one large plot was left for the common use. 
The large Allmend, or common, supplied wood for 
the community, and there, too, might feed every 
man's flocks and herds. The nobleman as such had 
no domains "Specially set apart for him, his position 
and privileges were honorary. He might be chosen 
as a high officer of a district, or even a duke, or 
leader of the army, in time of war. Payment for such 
services was unknown. Money was scarce, and in- 
deed its use was mainly taught them by the Romans. 
Not only did flocks and herds form their chief wealth, 
but were the standard of value, each article being 
estimated as worth so much in cattle. 

Society was from the very first sharply and clearly 
divided into two great classes — the landowners and 
the bondsmen — the " free and the unfree." The 
former class was again split into " lesser men," 
" middle men," and "first men," or Athelinge (Adelige), 
these last named being of noble blood, and owners 
of most land and the greatest number of slaves and 
cattle. The "unfree" were either Hocrige that be- 
longed to the estate they tilled, and might be sold 


with it, or slaves who could call nothing their own, 
for whatever they saved fell to their lord at their 
death, if he so willed. A shire or large district was 
subdivided into hundreds. The whole of the free men 
met on some hallowed spot, under some sacred tree, 
with their priests and leaders. Here, besides per- 
forming religious exercises, they discussed war and 
peace, dispensed justice, chose their officers of state, 
and their leader if war was imminent. War and 
jurisdiction were the whole, or well-nigh the whole, 
of public life at that early stage. The popular 
assemblies, done away with by the feudal system, 
revived later on in the form of the famous " Lands- 
gemeinde " of the forest district, which are still in use 
in some of the cantons. Blood money, or wergild, 
was exacted from wrong-doers as in Saxon times in 
England. The tariff drawn up for bodily injuries 
reveals the mercenary and brawling temper of a semi- 
civilized people. 

At the time they settled in Switzerland the 
Alamanni were heathens, and worshipped nature- 
deities — in groves, near springs, or mountains — the 
names of some of which we still trace in the names 
of the days of the week. Their religion, which was 
that common to all Germany, reveals the German 
mind — full of reverie, deep thoughtfulness, and wild 
romantic fancy that leads to a tragical issue. Like 
**iost heathen people the Alamanni clothed their gods 
in their own flesh and blood. Woden and his attendant 
deities, shield-maidens — Freyr and Frcya, the king 
and queen of the elves — dwarfs, giants, spirits — all 
these arc well known to us, and are indeed the charm 


of the fairy talcs of our youth. The bright spirits, 
the Asen, war against the spirit of darkness, the 
giants, and lose ground, for they have broken the 
treaties made with them. The Asen are the benevo- 
lent powers of nature, spring sunshine, and fertilizing 
rain, and live in bright palaces, in Walhalla, and 
receive the dead ; the evil spirits are the sterile rock, 
the icy winter, the raging sea, the destructive fire. 
Thor destroys the rocks with his Hammer, pounding 
them to earth that man may grow corn. The giants 
scale the sky to defy the gods for assisting mankind, 
but Heimdallr stands watching on the rainbow-bridge 
that leads to Asgard — the garden of the Asen — 
and prevents their entrance. But the gods them- 
selves are stained with guilt, and in a fight with the 
Giants before the gates of Walhalla, they utterly 
destroy each other. The columns of heaven and the 
rainbow-bridge break down, the universe is destroyed 
and the downfall of the gods is complete. But the 
heathen Germans could not bear the notion of entire 
annihilation, so in a sort of epilogue the great tragedy 
is followed by the dawn of brighter and better times, 
the gods recover their former innocence, when they 
used to play with golden dice without knowing the 
value of gold. 1 The Gotterdammcrung, the Divine 
Dawn, has broken, and a new epoch has set in for 
gods and men. One of Wagner's musical dramas is, 
as is well known, founded on these myths. 

To turn to the Burgundians. They became the 
neighbours of the Alamanni in Helvetia about 480 A.D., 
after a severe defeat by the Huns. This great battle 

1 Dahn. 


is pictured with great power in the " Nibelungenlied." 
The Burgundians play a conspicuous part in that 
grand old epic. A wonderful blending it is of heroic 
myth, beautiful romance, and historic sagas attaching 
to the great heroes of the early Middle Ages — 
Theodoric the Great, Gunther of Burgundy, Attila, 
King of the Huns. If space permitted, the whole 
story might well be told, but in this place let one 
feat be cited as an example. Siegfried, the Dragon- 
slayer, a demigod, invulnerable, like Achilles, except 
in one place, and who could make himself invisible, 
woos the sweet and lovely maid of Worms. As 
" invisible champion," he assists her brother Gunther 
in his combat with the warlike Brunhilde, Queen of 
the North, whom Gunther wishes to obtain to wife. 
After years of happy married life the Queen of 
Worms fell to a quarrel with the Queen of Xanten on 
a question of precedence, and the gallant Siegfried 
falls a victim to Brunhilde's hatred, and her intrigue 
with Hagen. To avenge his death, the disconsolate 
widow marries the powerful Attila, and engages in a 
terrible battle with the Burgundians. In this battle 
she and her own kindred were slain. Attila and 
Dietrich of Verona (Theodoric the Great) are saved, 

Ae ms gave the Burgundians Sabaudia (Savoy) 
in 44^, on condition that they should protect Gaul 
and Italy from the incursions of the Alamanni. 
One-third of the lands and homesteads were made 
over to them by the Romans, and later two-thirds 
were yielded. Gradually the Burgundians advanced 
in the interior of Helvetia. Vaud, Valais, and 



Fribourg, and into Southern Gaul. They occupied 
indeed all the territory from the Vosges to the Alps 
and the Mediterranean. They lived on friendly terms 
with the previous settlers, differing considerably in 
character from the Alamanni. Less numerous, less 
vigorous, and more pliant, they were unable to Ger- 
manize the West, as the Alamanni did the East, yet 
were strong enough to infuse new vital force into the 
enervated Roman populations. A readily cultivable 
race the Burgundians availed themselves of the Roman 
civilization and advancement, and gradually blended 
with the previous settlers — chiefly of Latin origin — 
to form a new people. Thus through Roman in- 
fluence and German grafting — with two distinct 
German grafts — two nationalities sprang up in Swit- 
zerland, and we find, as in our own day, the Germans 
in the ncrth-east, and the French in the south-west. 

The Roman influence over the Burgundians was 
greatly increased by the policy of King Gundobad 
(A.D. 500). He had visited Italy, and had been 
greatly taken with Roman institutions. There is still 
extant a letter of his in which he begs of Theodoric 
the Great a sun- or water-dial which he had seen at 
his Court. Gundobad's code of laws was a blend- 
ing of Roman legislation with German jurisdiction. 
He introduced the Latin speech and chronology 
officially, and gave the Romans equal rights and 
an equal standing with the German population. Re- 
ligious differences arising — the Burgundians were 
Arians — and conflicts ensuing between king and 
people, the Franks took advantage of the turmoils to 
bring the subjects of Gundobad under their sway. 


There was no love lost between the Alamanni 
and their neighbours, the Burgundians ; indeed the 
national antipathy for each other was great, but the 
Frankish domination did more than anything else 
towards bringing about a union between the hostile 
peoples. The reports they have left as to the 
character of the Franks are not flattering. They said 
that the Franks were capable of breaking an oath 
with a smiling face, and a saying ran, "Take a Frank 
for a friend, but never for a neighbour." Clovis, the 
Frankish king, had waded to the throne through the 
blood of his own kin. He was, however, the first to 
take more extended views in politics, and planned a 
united German kingdom after the type of the Roman 
Empire. To his vast scheme the Alamanni fell the 
first victims. A great battle was fought in which they 
suffered defeat. Clovis had vowed that he would 
embrace Christianity if he should prevail against the 
Alamannic Odin. Victory falling to his side, Clovis 
and his nobles were baptized. His conversion was 
a great triumph for the Church, and furnished the 
Merovingian kings with a pretext for the conquest 
of the Arian Germans, who had been led astray from 
the orthodox faith. To crown the work and enhance 
his greatness in the eyes of his Roman and German 
subjects, the imperial purple, and the title of Roman 
Patricius was bestowed on Clovis by the Greek 

The subjection of Burgundy was brought about in 
the following reign, under Sigismund, who had been 
guilt\* of the murder of his son by the desire of 
the stepmother. He fled to St. Maurice, which he 


endowed so richly that it gave shelter to upwards of 
five hundred monks. However, his piety did not 
bring him victory, for the Burgundians were defeated 
by the Franks at Autun in 532, and Sigismund and 
his family were hurled down a well. 

In the same year Chur-Rhaetia was yielded to the 
Franks by the Goths, who required their help against 
the East. Rhaetia, which had escaped the German 
invasion, had fallen to the share of the Goths of Italy, 
and had enjoyed the protection and munificence 
of their glorious king, Theodoric the Great. He 
defended her against her neighbours as a forepost of 
Italy, but left intact the Roman institutions. 

Thus had Helvetia been formed into a Frankish 
dependency ; not a vestige was left of the very name 
Helvetia. Yet the Frankish rule was more nominal 
than real. Counts were appointed to govern shires 
and hundreds, and, being royal governors, were 
elected by, and dependent on, the Frankish kings. 
Jurisdiction, military command, summoning to war, 
raising of taxes — fishing, hunting, coinage, had 
become royal prerogatives — and the farmers kicked 
against the impositions — these were the functions of 
the governing counts. None the less the Burgundians 
retained their king or patricius, and the Alamanni 
remained under the sway of their own duke, to whom 
alone they gave allegiance. Chur-Rhaetia was par- 
ticularly privileged. It was ruled by a royal gover- 
nor, who was supreme judge, count, and presses, 
and the dignity remained for one hundred and fifty 
years in one powerful and wealthy native family 
called the Victoriden, who held likewise the ecclc- 


siastical livings. On its extinction in 766, Bishop 
Tcllo, the last of the family, bestowed the immense 
wealth on the religious-houses of Disentis and Chur. 

The promotion of Christianity, and the staunch 
support given by the Merovingian kings to the 
Church, were perhaps the greatest benefits resulting 
from the Prankish rule. Knowing the Church to 
be the sole means by which in that benighted age 
culture could be spread and civilization extended, 
those monarchs availed themselves of her services, 
and bestowed upon her in return great wealth and 
high prerogatives. Churches and religious-houses 
sprang up one could hardly tell how. In French 
Switzerland there were founded the bishoprics of 
Geneva, Lausanne, and Sion ; and in the eastern half 
of the country those of Basel, Vindonissa (removed 
to Constance in the sixth century), and Chur. St. 
Maurice, benefited, as we have seen, by Sigismund, 
was a flourishing abbey town. Yet many of the 
Alamanni held tenaciously to their old gods, and 
their holy shrines and idols stood side by side with 
the Cross ; even Christians invoked Woden, for fear 
he should be offended by their neglect. 

The further amalgamation of heathenism and 
Christianity was most effectually stopped by — curious 
to say — a caravan of Irish monks. In fact, later 
tradition attributed to these monks the foundation of 
religious-houses, to a number which modern investi- 
gation has shown to have been greatly exaggerated. 
Ireland, which had so far escaped the struggle with 
the great Teutonic race, had given all her energies 
to the promotion of the new faith, and ever since the 


fourth century Christianity had wonderfully flourished 
in the island. Filled with missionary ardour, the 
Irish Columban conceived an intense desire to conquer 
Gaul and Germany, and in 610 set out on his 
wanderings with a staff of twelve companions. 
Equipped with " knotty sticks," a leather vial, a 
travelling pouch, a relic case, and with a spare pair 
of boots hung round the neck, " tatooed, " wearing 
long waving hair, 1 the adventurous band arrived in 
Gaul, and founded monasteries in the Vosges district. 
However, they offended Queen Brunhilde by their 
frankness, and had to depart. Proceeding to Eastern 
Helvetia, they arrived at Zurich, but at length finding 
nothing more to do there, as we may suppose, they 
proceeded to Tuggen, on the Upper Zurich lake. 
Here they saw people engaged in an oblation of beer 
to the national gods. Moved with holy anger, the 
monks upset the vessel, and flung the idols into the 
lake, and won many to Christianity. We cannot here 
follow them in their devoted labours. Columban 
passed on into Italy, but left his disciple Gallus in the 
neighbourhood of Lake Constance. Hence sprang up 
the famous monastery bearing his name. 

1 Professor Kahn. 



UNDER the last Merovingian kings, whose character 
is sufficiently attested by the name of Faineants — 
sluggards — Alamannia and Burgundy struggled to 
shake off the Frankish yoke. Now the wealth and 
power of those weak kings were passing from them 
to their " Mayors of the Palace." Charles Marte'l, 
one of these " Mayors," defeated the Alamanni in a 
great battle (A.D. 730), and Carlomann, Charlemagne's 
brother, had a number of Alamannic grandees put to 
the sword, and their lands confiscated (A.D. 746). 

Charles Martel remained simple " Mayor of the 
Palace," but Pepin le Bref had himself crowned king, 
at St. Denis, by Stephen II., in 751, rewarding the 
Pope for this great service by the gift of a tract of 
land around the Holy City. By this coup d\ : tat were 
established both the Carol ingian dynasty and the 
temporal power of the Pope — well-nigh convertible 
terms. The new dynasty greatly fostered religion, 
and furthered the work begun by the Irish and Anglo- 
Saxon monks. St. Gall's cell became an abbey 


church and monastic school ; St. Leodegar's at 
Lucerne was incorporated with the abbey of Murbach 
in Alsatia ; and on the bank of the Limmat at Zurich 
arose a college of prebends. 

Pepin le Bref was succeeded by his son, Charles 
the Great, or Charlemagne, as he is usually called 
(768-814). For nearly half a century this talented, 
powerful, and lofty-minded sovereign swayed the 
destinies of Europe with unflagging zeal, ever bearing 
in mind the responsibilities of his exalted position. 
He ruled over a vast domain, stretching from the 
Ebro in Spain to the Theiss in Hungary, and from 
Denmark to the Tiber. Saxons, Sclavonians, Avars, 
Lombards, and Arabs, were subject to his rule. His 
Court was a great intellectual centre, whence enlighten- 
ment spread to every part of his dominions. Charle- 
magne was great as a general, as a statesman, as a 
politician ; he was a painstaking economist, and his 
humanity, and his other virtues secured for him the 
noble title of " Father of Europe." A brilliant figure 
in a benighted age, which shed its light on after times. 
No wonder mediaeval fancy lingered fondly on his 
memory ; and around his name gathered song and 
saga and legend. Charlemagne is a special favourite 
with the Swiss ; indeed, of all the German rulers who 
have held sway over them, he is the one whose 
memory is most dear ; and Switzerland has done at 
least her share in helping to swell the mass of legend 
and fiction respecting him. The impulse he gave 
to education in this country was alone sufficient to 
endear his memory to the Swiss. Basel, Geneva, 
<"hur, and Sion, benefited by his wise administration, 


and Zurich quite particularly exalts him, calling him 
the " Fountain of her intellectual life," during the 
Middle Ages. It is impossible as it is unnecessary to 
give at length in this volume, the history of this long 
and brilliant reign. A few points may suffice to 
indicate the character of Charlemagne, and to throw 
some light on the times, and the condition of the 

The ambition of the Franks to found an empire 
after the fashion of Rome was practically realized 
when Charlemagne was crowned Fmperor of the 
West by Hadrian in A.D. 800. Yet Charles aimed 
less at mere outward grandeur than at the establish- 
ment of a spiritual kingdom on earth, and a kingdom 
that should embrace all his people in one Christian 
Church, upheld by a strong and well-organized state- 
commonwealth. The union of Church and State, 
yet giving the preponderance to the latter, was 
Charlemagne's leading idea, and well-nigh summed 
up his religious and political creed. The strong 
religious bent of this "priestly king" was revealed at 
the very beginning of his reign, when he took upon 
himself the mission of" Defender of the Holy Church, 
and Coadjutor of the Apostolic See," z thus claiming, 
with the concurrence of the Primate, the spiritual 
guidance of his realm. Hadrian's congenial nature 
and tendencies helped to bring about this union. 
Yet in this matter Charles but conformed to the 
policy of his ancestors, and to the spirit of the age, 
an age remarkable for acts of piety and devotion. 

* See Biidinger, " Von den Anfangen des Schulzwanges," Zurich, 
1865, p. IO. 


And the history of Switzerland is for that period 
rather a history of the religious movements of the 
time than a political chronicle. For in those early 
stages the Church was proportionally far more 
important than in our own times. Then she was the 
sole, or almost the sole, centre of intellect, of art, of 
letters, and represented the ideal side of life in an 
illiterate age. Despite her defects the Church was a 
blessing to mankind. 

Helvetian lands had entirely lost their political 
independence. During this reign, the vigorous 
government of the monarch frustrated every attempt 
at insurrection, and in the end both Alamanni and 
Burgundians began to feel the benefits arising from 
the existence of a wise and firm administration. To 
curb their power the sovereign abolished the dignities 
of the mighty dukes, and parcelled out the land into 
smaller shires (than the old county divisions), and 
placed over these counts as royal governors with 
judicial power. The people no longer appeared in 
corpore at the shire-motes, but were represented at 
the lesser court by Schccffen, or reeves. These reeves 
had to bring in the verdict ; if they could not agree, 
trial-by- ordeal was resorted to. Twice a year Charles 
assembled his nobles and bishops to receive their 
reports, and to frame laws, which were, however, 
submitted to the people, that is, the " freeholders " at 
the " real thing," when they met in May. For the 
control of the shire administration, and to give the 
people a means of appealing more directly to the 
king's justice, he appointed a special commission of 
spiritual and temporal officers {missi dominici). 


Charlemagne's legislation, it hardly needs to be 
said, was highly favourable to the Church, and tended 
to increase her wealth largely. He allotted to her 
tithes of the produce of the soil, and the people of 
their own free will overwhelmed the ecclesiastical and 
monastic institutions with offerings of lands and 
money. In the eighth century the monastery of St. 
Gall already possessed 160,000 acres of land, which 
had been bestowed by pious donors, whilst the twelve 
hundred deeds-of-gift found amongst the old abbey 
documents testify to the zeal of the givers. Religious 
establishments became the largest landowners in the 
country, and vassalage and the feudal system sprang 

Under the territorial subdivision Switzerland fell 
into the shires of Thurgau, Aargau, Genevagau, 
Waldgau (Vaud), &c, far larger than at present, 
whence are derived the names of various cantons as 
we have them now. Some of the Swiss would seem 
to have shared in Charlemagne's military glory. The 
" Monk of St. Gall," x recently identified with Notker 
Balbulus (the Stammerer), the popular biographer of 
Charlemagne, tells in bombastic style the feats of an 
Alamannic hero from Thurgau. This mediaeval 
Hercules — Eishere the Giant by name — had accom- 
panied the emperor against the Avars, and after his 
return, reported that they had " mowed down the 
enemy like grass," and that he himself had " strung 
on his lance some six or eight pigmy toads of 
Bohemians as if they were larks, then carried them 

1 Profes. or T-aehtold, "History of German Literature in Switzer- 
land," Frauenfeld, 1887. 


hither and thither, not knowing what they were 
fjrumblinjr out"! Notker, the chronicler, had in his 
youth heard the story of the military exploits of 
Charlemagne, from an old Thurgau soldier who had 
followed the emperor in his wars. And when 
Charles III. was on a visit to St. Gall in 883, he was 
so delighted with the monk's lively chat about the 
matchless emperor, that he requested him to write 
down his recollections of his illustrious ancestor. To 
this monkish chronicler we owe so many of the 
pleasant stories of Charlemagne current among 
us. 1 

Interesting and touching are the traits we con- 
stantly meet with in the glimpses we get of the Court 
and private life of the emperor. His daughters were 
not allowed to marry because he could not bear sepa- 
ration from them. Hatto of Basel, the most illus- 
trious o[ his elder bishops, often inveighed against 
the monarch's weaknesses, yet Charlemagne not only 
bore the bishop's censures, but sent him on a highly 
honourable mission to the Court of Constantinople, 
and chose him as one of the witnesses to his last will. 
The emperor's friendship with Pope Hadrian was 
quite remarkable, and, in spite of many differences, 
was deep and lasting. On hearing the news of 
Hadrian's death, Charlemagne burst into tears, and 
eulogized him in the most flattering terms. The 
emperor's management of his royal estates was in 
the highest degree prudent, skilful, energetic, and in 
every way admirable. To his property he gave the 

' Professor Bachtold, " History of German Literature in Switzer* 
'and," Frauenfeld, 1887. 


closest and most constant inspection, down to the 
very eggs produced on his farms. 

He gathered round him scholars, artists, and 
teachers, from Italy and Greece, and a Court school 
was opened by Alcuin, the Anglo-Saxon scholar — 
the English were then the most cultured of the 
German peoples — and a body of English pupils 
followed him to Erance. Alcuin became the friend, 
and in matters educational the counsellor, of Charle- 
magne, by whom he was entrusted with the revision 
of the Bible. Warnfried Paulus Diaconus, the 
famous Lombard writer, was ordered to compile a 
collection of homilies from the Fathers. Copies of 
both these remarkable manuscripts — Bible and 
Homilies — were presented to the church of Zurich, 
and one, the beautiful Alcuin Bible, is still extant and 
among its literary treasures. Thronging the learned 
circle whose poetic centre was Charles himself, with 
his wife and daughters, and two sisters, were Einhard 
the German, the confidant and biographer of the 
emperor; Angilhard, the knightly poet; the Goth 
Theobald, Bishop of Orleans, a scholar and man of 
the world; as well as many another illustrious man. 
Charlemagne's two sisters were nuns, and one of 
them, Gisela, was the great friend of Alcuin. 1 

Charlemagne was fond of visiting and occasionally 
teaching in his Court school. He took great interest 
in the progress of his scholars, praising the diligent 
and admonishing the indolent. The " Monk " in- 
forms us that on one occasion finding the compositions 
of the poorer boys praiseworthy, whilst those of the 

1 See Gustav Freytag's charming " Pictures of the Middle Ages." 


young nobles were unsatisfactory, the emperor rose 
up in anger and warned these latter youths that their 
high birth and fine manners should not screen them 
from punishment if they did not get rid of their 
laziness. Then, turning to the poor but meritorious 
youths, he highly commended them, and exhorted 
them to be always thus diligent, promising them 
rewards and preferment if they continued in their 
good course. Charlemagne indeed gained impensn- 
able glory by his educational efforts, through which 
a foundation was laid for after ages. Full of the 
conviction that religion and learning were essential to 
happiness, he yearned to spread education amongst 
his people, and made it the chief object of his later 
years. All parents ought, he says, "to send their 
boys to school, and let them abide there till they are 
well informed," a principle only imperfectly under- 
stood and acted upon even in our own day. This 
ideal side of his complex activity lifts him far above 
the other rulers of the Middle Ages. To our mind 
there is but one who bears comparison with him for 
greatness of character and lofty aims — Alfred the 
Great, of Wessex. Clerical colleges, and secular 
schools attached to them, sprang up all over the 
country, and the knowledge of the Scriptures, hitherto 
confined to the clergy, was freely placed before the 

The bishops were charged by the emperor to take 
care that the priests were "well qualified as religious 
teachers." Theobald enjoins his clergy to open 
schools and " teach the children with love, and to 
accept no fees but what the parents choose to give." 



Such was the emperor's educational zeal, that he 
ordains whipping and deprivation of food even for 
men and women if they do not know by heart the 
Confession of Faith and the Lord's Prayer, and are 
not able to repeat them in Latin to the priests. Yet 
he makes allowances for the dunces who are permitted 
to learn and repeat these exercises in their own 
illiterate language. He admonishes the monks to 
learn better grammar, and get rid of their uncouth 
modes of speech. He strongly reprimands a choir- 
boy whose wrong notes grate on his delicate ear. 

Amongst the bishops of Switzerland, Ilatto of 
Basel, and Rcmedius of Chur-Rhaetia, were Charle- 
magne's chief supporters and lawgivers in their own 
dioceses. The latter prelate was a great friend of 
Alcuin, and held a brilliant Court with many vassals. 
The power of these theocratic governors was very 
great. It may be mentioned, as an example of this, 
that Remedius decreed that persons guilty of sacrilege 
should be covered with hot tar and made to ride thus 
on a donkey through the villages. The emperor's 
protection to church and school foundations was 
exercised in many cases in Switzerland. According 
to tradition, Sion was enriched with landed property ; 
and to St. Maurice was presented a fine onyx cup 
adorned with beautiful Greek relievi, still amongst the 
treasures of that church. Zurich attributes her 
oldest churches and schools to the emperor's bounty. 
To him she is said to owe her minster, bearing his 
name and statue; the Chorherrenstift, or College of 
Canons, and the Carolinum, a clerical school for 
piebends or canons, which developed in 1832 into the 



pfT- , 

*£2l a 


(Appenzeller, Zurich.) 


University and Gymnasium respectively, and finally 
the Wasserkirche, a chapel by the riverside, on the 
spot where the martyrs Felix and Regula once 

Zurich was indeed, according to tradition, a 
favourite residence of the great monarch, and his 
mansion is said to have been the Haus zum Loch 
(hole or cavern), standing on a steep incline near the 
minster. Connected with this is a charming legend 
which reflects the character for justice he had gained 
amongst the people. This story may also serve as 
an example, the only one our space will permit us to 
give, of the abundant store of legend collected around 
the memory of Charlemagne. There was a chapel on 
the riverside where he had placed a bell for people to 
ring if they wished to appeal to justice. One day as 
he was at dinner with his queen this bell began to 
ring. None of the servants could inform him what 
was the matter. The bell rang a second time, and 
then a third. On this the emperor rose from the 
table, saying, " I am sure there is some poor man you 
don't wish me to see." So saying, he walked down 
the hill to the chapel, where, hanging to the bell rope, 
he found a large snake. The reptile crept down, 
moved towards him, and wagged her tail to pay her 
respects. Then going on in front she led Charle- 
magne to a tuft of nettles, and his servants examining 
the spot found a large toad sitting on the eggs in the 
serpent's nest. At once, grasping the meaning of this 
appeal, he sat him down in his chair of justice and 
passed sentence that the toad should be killed and 
quartered. The next day at dinner time the snake 


appeared in the passage, frightening the attendants 
grievously. However, Charles quieted them, and 
said, " God is wonderful, and we cannot know the 
meaning of this." The snake entered the hall, 
climbed on the table, and, beckoning the emperor to 
remove the lid of his golden goblet, dropped into it 
a beautiful jewel. Then, descending from the table, 
she bowed to the royal couple, and disappeared. 
Charles held this to be a good omen, and resolved 
never to part with the jewel. The moral is obvious. 
Charlemagne was so just, and his reputation for 
equity so widespread, that even the lower animals 
appealed to him, and not in vain. 

According to another version, the stone exerted 
attraction like a loadstone, for where it was dropped 
the emperor could not leave the place. But Arch- 
bishop Turpin had dropped it into the springs of 
Aachen, and hence Charlemagne no more quitted 
that royal residence. 

It would be impossible in our space, even if it were 
interesting to the general reader, to enter into the 
discussions respecting Charlemagne's foundations in 
and visits to Zurich. Two things, however, come out 
clearly ; first (thanks to the labours of the learned 
historian, Professor Georg von Wyss), that tradition is 
not entirely unworthy of trust, as there is documentary 
evidence still extant to prove that Charlemagne 
reformed the College (Chorherrenstift) ; second, that 
he kept up a close connection with the city, whether 
he actually resided there or not. 

Xo doubt this exaltation of Charlemagne's merits 
is an expression of the attachment felt for his person, 


and of the admiration for his marvellous educational 
efforts. His grandson, Louis the German, founded 
the Abbey of our Lady, in 853, on the site of an old 
convent erected to the memory of the patron saints 
of Zurich. Louis erected this new abbey in order 
to give a more brilliant church preferment to his 
daughter, Hildgard, Lady Principal of a small convent 
at Wurzburg. This Princess Abbess received the 
sole right of jurisdiction, and the convent rose rapidly, 
and with it extended the city commonwealth. (We 
shall show in a later chapter how this female govern- 
ment checked the growth of political power in that 
city, and yet was the making of her.) 




The death of the great emperor brought this realm 
into utter confusion, the whole fabric of his wise and 
firm administration falling to pieces. All the heteio- 
geneous and often refractory elements which his stern 
rule had kept in check burst their bounds and gained 
full play during the reigns of his descendants, who 
grew weaker and weaker, though with here and there 
an exception. The pretensions of the Church, which 
Charlemagne's own protection and fostering care 
had, so to speak, ushered in and strengthened; the 
struggles of eminent families and dynastic houses for 
sovereignty in the absence of one central and undis- 
puted power ; the increase of the immunities and the 
growth of feudalism — all these were serious difficulties 
for the coming rulers to cope with. 

Louis the l'ious, the only surviving son of Charle- 


magr.e, and heir to his crown, was clearly quite unfit 
to cope with these difficulties satisfactorily. The un- 
timely distribution of the crown lands insisted on by 
the imperious Judith, his second wife, in favour of her 
own son, and the protracted struggles between the 
imperial princes, steeped the realm in intestine wars, 
and in the end led to its dissolution. It is impossible 
in this short sketch to follow to his tragical end this 
unworthy son of a great father. The treaty of Verdun 
(843) settled the bloody conflicts, but split the empire 
into three new dominions ; the East Frankish realm 
devolving on Louis the German : the West Frankish 
kingdom falling to Charles the Bald ; and the middle 
district, including Italy and the strip of land between 
the two first divisions just mentioned, and comprising 
Provence, Burgundy, Lorraine, and the Netherlands. 
This last realm fell to Lothair. 

The treaty of Verdun, to which the French and 
German States trace their origin, also effected the 
most sweeping changes in Helvetia, and altered 
greatly its political aspect. The country was rent 
into two halves, East Switzerland, forming the Aare, 
with Chur-Rhaetia, being incorporated with the East 
Frankish kingdom ; and West Helvetia and the Valais 
with Lorraine or the middle kingdom. This naturally 
tended to revive the national antagonism between the 
two Helvetias. 

Freed from the iron hand which had crushed all 
attempts at insurrection, the peoples began again 
their struggles for the recovery of national indepen- 
dence and separate rule, and thence came the restora- 
tion of the kingdom of Burgundy and the Duchy of 


Alamannia, or Swabia. 1 Burgundy was the first to 
make sure of her national freedom. On the death of 
Lothair in 855 his kingdom fell to pieces. Count 
Boso, of Vienna, his relative, founded the kingdom of 
Burgundy "Without Helvetia, 879 (Provence or Aries — 
ArelatiscJics Reich). After fruitless attempts by various 
Burgundian nobles to establish their sovereignty 
within Helvetia, a renowned nobleman, Rudolf, of the 
illustrious house of the Guelfs, set up as a pretender 
to Swiss Burgundy, after the precedent of Count 
Boso. Rudolf possessed vast estates in Swabia, on 
Lake Constance. He had sworn allegiance to Charles 
III. (the " Stout "), who, weak as he was, had, strange 
to say, once more united the Empire under his sceptre. 
On his death, in 888, Rudolf the Guelf was crowned 
king at St. Maurice, the venerable abbey-town in the 
Low-Valais, by a large assembly of Burgundian 
bishops and nobles. Thus was established the 
Helvetian kingdom of Upper or New Burgundy (Bur- 
gundia transjuranti), which seems to have extended 
into Lorraine and Savoy. In 933 both Burgundies 
were united. 

Rudolf not only maintained his independence 
against the aggressive spirit of intruding neighbours, 
but carried his victories into East Helvetia, as far 
as Lake Zurich, and on his death in 912 his crown 
passed without opposition to his son Rudolf II. This 
king had inherited his father's great abilities and rest- 
less habits, which engaged him in numerous wars. 

1 It is perhaps preferable to use the word Swabia instead of Alantaiinia 
so often. Freeman in his essay on the Holy Roman Empire speaks of 
the Swabian Emperors, the Hohenstaufen. 


His greatest martial achievement was the defeat of 
the Hungarians, who were making their fearful inroads 
into Europe. In East Helvetia, however, his advance 
was checked by Burkhard I., Duke of Alamannia. who 
routed him at Winterthur, near Zurich, in 919. Led 
no doubt by their mutual admiration for each other's 
prowess, and by common political interests, they 
made peace and contracted a lasting friendship. To 
seal the union between the two Helvetias, Burkhard 
gave his lovely daughter, Bertha, in marriage to the 
Burgundian king, and gave her as dowry the land 
between the Aare and the Reuss, the district for 
which he had been contending. He even followed 
Rudolf on his expedition to Italy, and fell in a skir- 
mish whilst succouring his son-in-law. But Rudolf 
was unable to maintain the authority of his Italian 
crown, and exchanged his claim to Lombardy for the 
kingdom of Lower Burgundy (Provence) in 933 ; this 
arrangement was, however, much contested. 

When not engaged in wars he assisted his queen in 
her good works. The Burgundian kings as yet had 
no fixed residence, and moved from place to place on 
their royal estates — to Lausanne, Payerne, Yverdon, 
Solothurn, or Lake Thun. When making these 
rounds Rudolf loved to do as the judges of Israel of 
old — to seat himself under the shade of a fine oak and 
deal out justice to whoever might come near and 
appeal to him. Yet the memory of this good king is 
almost eclipsed by the glory of his wife, the famous 
" Spinning Queen," and her wisdom and ministry 
amongst the poor. 

Things went less pleasantly with the Alamanni. 


Their efforts to restore separate or self-government — 
the passionate yearning for national independence 
innate in the German tribes has done much to bring 
about the division of the German Empire into its 
many kingdoms, principalities, and duchies — met 
with far steadier and more violent opposition than 
was the case with the Burgundians. 

Under the pacific rule of Louis the German 
(843-876) the Alamanni enjoyed the benefits of his 
peaceful tendencies, and we hear of no attempts at 
insurrection. This sensible and practical monarch left 
to East Helvetia the " remembrance of him in good 
works." Two things brought him into close relations 
with this country — his founding of the Abbey of our 
Lady at Zurich, where he installed his daughters 
Hildegard and Bertha, as has been stated before; and 
his benefactions to St. Gall, which he freed from the 
overlordship of Constance. Indeed, the chronicler of 
this latter institution, Notker, MoiiacJius S. Gallensis, 
would seem to have been fascinated by his personal 
charms and affable manners. Promoted to the posi- 
tion of an independent abbey, owing allegiance to 
none but the king himself, and enriched by continual 
grants of land on the part of pious donors, St. Gall 
developed into a flourishing monastic commonwealth. 
The peaceful colony of thrifty and studious monks — 
Benedictines they were — who, like their Irish founder, 
combined manual labour with learned contemplation, 
earnest study, and literary skill — form a society quite 
unique in its way. The holy men "conjure into their 
cells the departed spirits of classical antiquity," l and 

1 D.« rauer. 


hold free intercourse with them ; given to ecclesias- 
tical learning, whilst not neglectful of profane studies, 
these learned and high-bred scholars constitute a truly 
mediaeval university. Their life and character is 
vividly set before us by their chroniclers. 

Arnulf of Kaernthen (887-899), grandson of Louis, 
kept up a close connection with St. Gall, through his 
chaplain, Solomon III., its abbot. He governed the 
East Frankish kingdom with firmness and great 
ability. The military glory of the Carolingians 
seemed to be restored when he defeated the Xormans 
brilliantly at Lcewen on the river Dyle. Unfortunately 
this vigorous ruler died after a short reign, leaving his 
crown to his only son, Louis " the Child," then only 
six years of age. Through the reign of this sickly 
prince (900-911) the country was torn by party 
struggles, and the invasions of the Hungarians in- 
creased the distresses of the time. Contemporary 
writers seem hardly able to express the horror they 
felt at the very sight of the Asiatics, who appeared 
even loathsome to them. Arnulf was reproached with 
having launched them upon Europe when he led 
them against his enemies, the Maehren ; whilst Charle- 
magne's policy had been altogether opposed to this, 
he having shut them in by raising gigantic walls on 
the Danube against the Avars. These were followers 
of the Huns of the fifth century, and resembled them 
by their savage warfare and indescribable habits. 

" Woe to the realm whose king is a child," writes 
Solomon III. to a befriended bishop; "all are at 
variance, count and vassals, shire and boundary 
neighbours ; the towns rise in rebellion, the laws are 


trampled under foot, and we are at the mercy of the 
savage hordes." Such was the condition of the country 
at the opening of the tenth century. Solomon, who 
wrote these lamentations, was himself a powerful 
political ruler no less than a Church potentate. Next 
to Archbishop Hatto, of Mayence, who governed 
during the minority of Louis, Solomon was the most 
influential man at the German Court, and wielded its 
destinies after Hatto's death. This high-born Church- 
man, educated as a secular priest at St. Gall, became 
secretary, chaplain, and chancellor, at the German 
Court, and enjoyed the friendship of four successive 
monarchs. Promoted by Arnulf to the Abbey of St. 
Gall in 890, and shortly afterwards to the see of Con- 
stance, he thus combined the dignities of the two 
rival institutions. Subtle, versatile, and indefatigable, 
this high ecclesiastic was the most consummate 
courtier and man of the world. Handsome and mag- 
nificent, he captivated his hearers in the council by 
the clearness of his argument and his ready wit ; and 
melted the people to tears by his eloquence in the 
pulpit. His leadership at St. Gall promoted the mag- 
nificence of the abbey, and formed it into a prominent 
literary and political centre. It was, however, robbed 
of its ascetic character, Solomon being wanting in 
genuine piety, for one thing. 

The absolute rule of this powerful prelate greatly 
checked the national risings of the Swabian leaders, 
for he strenuously maintained the oneness of Church 
and State. Conrad I. (911-919), the last of the 
East Frankish kings, gave all his energies to the 
one aim of strengthening and solidifying his rule 


or the suppression or abolition of the dukedoms. 
which he saw undermined the power of the sovereign. 
Relying on the support of the clergy, he was strongly 
influenced by Solomon's insinuations when he put 
forth his blood}' measures against the Svvabian pre- 

During the reign of Louis the Child the state of 
anarchy had begotten numerous national risings, 
which led to the establishment of the Bavarian, 
Prankish, and Saxon duchies. At its very close a 
similar attempt was ventured upon in Alamannia. 
Burkhard, Marquis of Chur- Rha;tia, afterwards 
Graubunden, one of the most eminent of the 
Swabian grandees, put forward claims to the duchy. 
His sons were banished, and, it was whispered, by 
Solomon's machinations (91 1). Yet all this was nc 
check on the aspirations of the two brothers, 
Erchanger and Bertold, brothers-indaw to the king, 
who aspired to the Duchy of Swabia. They, too, 
fell victims to the policy of the prelate, whose hatred 
was intensified when they laid hands on his person 
to arrest him. Conrad called a Synod to assist him, 
and heavy punishment was awarded the pretenders. 
However, the king had them beheaded, no doubt to 
please his chancellor. 

The cruel fate of the two made a deep impression 
on the people. Next year, when Burkhard, son of 
the unfortunate marquis, returned to his country 
whence he had fled — for he had joined in the rising 
of the two brothers, and had been summoned before 
the Synod — he was unanimously elected by the 
nobility and people (917). It was no small mortifi- 



cation to both king .and bishop to have their designs 
thus thwarted, the principle they had so vigorously- 
opposed being carried out. The annals of St. Gall 
bear witness to the fact that Solomon was implicated 
in the murders, for though usually exalting his merits, 
they report that the mighty prelate repented of his 
cruel actions, since he wandered as a pilgrim to 
Rome, contrite, weeping and lamenting, to do 
penance for his sins. 

Conrad I., at the close of his reign, acknowledged 
that his policy had been a mistaken one by giving 
the crown to his most powerful antagonist, the Saxon 
leader, Duke Henry, whose power he had striven to 
abrogate. Henry I., called " the Fowler " and the 
"City Founder" (919-936), was the first German 
ruler who erected a true German kingdom. With 
quick discernment he founded the authority of the 
Crown on the union of the tribes, by reconciling their 
leaders and enforcing their submission through the 
ascendency of his own powerful Saxon tribe. Binding 
them by oath of fealty without detracting from their 
honour, he met with no opposition. His son, Otho I., 
the " Great," obtained the imperial crown in Rome, 
and increased the greatness of his new kingdom. 
Thus we find East Helvetia with Chur-Rha^tia 
forming part of Alamannia, and presently the whole 
country was absorbed into, and its destinies bound 
up with, the vast empire. 

Burkhard I., assuming the title of " Duke of 
Alamannia by Divine Right," bent to Henry's royal 
supremacy with little objection, no doubt feeling it a 
safeguard to his own position. His successors like- 


wise held to Germany, and were faithful adherents 
of the emperors, who in their turn strove to knit 
Swabia more closely with the empire. This alliance 
was highly valued by them ; they had to pass through 
Chur-Rhaetia on their expeditions to Italy ; the 
Alamanni were famous for their prowess ; and their 
religious institutions, St. Gall, Rheinau, and Reiche- 
nau, were famous centres of culture. Swabia became 
a highly valuable fief to be granted at the pleasure of 
the emperors. On the death of Burkhard, who fell 
in a skirmish whilst accompanying his son-in-law, 
Rudolf of Burgundy, to the south, as we have seen 
above, the duchy devolved on the son of Otho I., and 
then on Burkhard II. of Chur-Rhaetia. He never 
swerved from his policy of holding to the empire, 
and his marriage with Otho's niece, whose beauty 
and courage and literary skill were celebrated in 
ballad and chronicle, drew the union still closer. On 
her husband's death, Hadwig inherited the title and 
his estates, but the duchy was granted to a friend of 
Otho II. She retired to her favourite residence, her 
manor on Mount Hohentwiel, near Lake Constance, 
where she lived in deep seclusion till her death in 
994. A good Greek scholar and fond of learning, 
she invited young Ekkchard II. of St. Gall to her 
castle, and made him her chaplain and her tutor in 
classical studies. Hadwig is the central figure in 
Scheffel's brilliant novel " Ekkchard," which glows 
with life and sparkling humour, and is a fanci- 
ful rendering of the amusing narratives contained 
in the St. Gall annals. The chronicler and the 
poet combining have produced an immortal work, 



and shed a lasting glory on the cloisters of St. 

Another famous monastic institution that sprung 
up about this time, i.e., under the Saxon emperor 
Otto, and obtained, like Lorctto, European fame a? 
a place of pilgrimage, was that of Einsiedeln, in 
Canton Schwyz. 

In 1024 the Duchy of Swabia was vested in Ernest 
II., stepson of the Emperor Conrad II. of the Salic 
dynasty. A fierce struggle arose on the question of 
the succession to the Burgundian throne. Ernest 
claimed through his mother, and Conrad through 
his wife, niece to Rudolf III. Seeing his hopes 
frustrated Ernest, with his friend Werner of Kyburg, 
and his party, fell upon the imperial troops, and 
bloody frays occurred. Ernest was imprisoned, and 
the manor of Kyburg besieged ; but both friends 
escaped, and again combined in new opposition to 
Conrad. In order to break their union, the emperor 
promised his son installation in Burgundy if he would 
deliver up his friend. But this was indignantly re- 
fused, the struggle began anew, and the gallant 
youths fell in a skirmish in 1030. Ernest was long 
a chief figure in mediaeval heroic poetry. 














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To return to the kingdom of Burgundy. Rudolf 
had greatly extended his dominions ; in 919 he added 
to them the land between the Aare and the Reuss, 
and in 933 Lower Burgundy, which he had obtained 
in exchange for the Italian crown. The kingdom 
now comprised West Switzerland, Provence, Dauphine, 
and Franche Comte\ During the king's absence on 
military expeditions, and during the minority of 
Conrad, Bertha, the "Spinning Queen," held the reins 
of government. She is represented on the seal of the 
document founding the convent of Payerne — one of 
her authenticated foundations — with the spinning 
wheel, and the words Bertha Jiumilis regina below. 
This Alpine queen, called by the French Swiss the 
" Mother of their liberties," was a model of industry 
and economy. Like Charlemagne, she was an excel- 
lent housekeeper, and even knew how many eggs had 
been laid on her estates. Humble in bearing, yet 
firm and strong, this lady fortified the country against 


the invasions of the Hungarians and Saracens. 
The gap between the Alps and Mount Jura was 
strengthened by a line of towers still to be seen, 
though crumbling from ags, at Neuchatel, La Moliere, 
Moudon, Gour/.e. These towers were almost in- 
accessible, and possessed thick walls, narrow windows, 
and doors which, being ten feet above the ground, 
could only be got at by means of ladders. At t he- 
first signal of alarm, seigneur 'and peasantry hurried 
to these strongholds carrying with them whatever 
thev were able ; when they had entered, the ladders 
were drawn in, and there the people remained till the 
wild hurricane of savagery had blown over. Gradually 
the Burgundians rallied as regular troops to meet the 
hordes in open battle. 

Herself always busy, Bertha hated idleness, and 
wherever she went she was to be found spinning, 
even on the road. Who has not heard of the humble 
and graceful queen, riding on her palfrey, spindle in 
hand, going from house to house, visiting castle, 
convent, farm, homestead, and hut, doing deeds ( f 
piety and benevolence? Once, when the Queen of 
Paverne, as she was often called, was on her circuits 
of inspection she met with a peasant girl keeping 
her flocks, and spinning. Delighted with the girl's 
industry, she gave her a handsome present. Next 
day all the ladies of her suite appeared before her 
with spindles in their hands. Smiling at the sight, 
she said, " My ladies, the young peasant girl, like 
Jacob, has been the first to receive the blessing." 
Space will not allow us to dwell longer on the 
memory of the " Spinning Queen " which is most 


dear to the French Swiss. It should be added, 
however, that the Burgundian traditions respecting 
this queen are doubtless mixed with mythological 
elements. In the German religious myths, Bertha 
{Berchta, Perahta,) means what is bright and pure 
and orderly: she is the Goddess of Fertility, and 
the Mother of the Earth, and bestows rich blessings 
on mankind. 

On the death of his father, which had left him a 
mere child, Bertha's son Conrad had been educated 
at the Court of Otho the Great. Fearing that 
Burgundy might become the prey of aggressive 
neighbours, the emperor stepped in and made him- 
self protector of the queen, and tutor to the children, 
and naturally exerted much influence on the country. 
Conrad, coming of age, ruled wisely, and for more 
than half a century (937-993), Burgundy flourished. 
His beautiful sister Adelheid was first Queea of Italy, 
but after Lothair's untimely death, became Empress 
of Germany, Otho I. wishing to unite Italy with his 
own empire, making her his wife. 

The reign of Rudolf III. (993-1032) was greatly 
harmful to the country, which was fast declining in 
prestige and prosperity. Better fitted for the cloister 
than for the throne, he lavished his wealth and estates 
on the clergy, with the view of enlisting their help 
against the encroaching feudal vassals. In the end, 
indeed, he was so reduced that he was compelled to 
live on alms from his priests. His own incapacities 
drove him to seek protection from the empire. 
Having no children, he appointed his nephew, the 
Emperor Henry II., heir to his kingdom, and even 


during his own lifetime he arranged to give up the 
reigns of government to Henry. The opposition of 
the Burgundian nobles and the emperor's death 
prevented this shameful arrangement from actually 
coming into force. The next emperor, Conrad II., 
prosecuted the claim against his stepson, Ernest II., 
as has been told above, and was crowned king at the 
Cluniaccnsian convent, founded by Bertha at Payerne, 
(1033). His elevation to the Burgundian throne was 
confirmed in the following year by a brilliant 
assembly of Burgundian, German, and Italian bishops 
and nobles, at Geneva. Shortly before his death in 
1038, he had his son Henry installed in the kingdom, 
and the oath of fealty to him was taken by the Bur- 
gundian nobles at the Diet of Solothurn. Switzerland 
was thus very closely allied with the empire ; Henry 
III. holding the reins of government as King of 
Burgundy and Duke of Alamannia or Swabia. This 
third amalgamation with the empire told more 
lastingly and infiuentially on the country than either 
the Roman or the Prankish rule had done ; to a great 
extent it stamped on the people the German character 
and spirit. 

These external changes, these shifting scenes, these 
various masters and systems of government, naturally 
affected the internal condition of the country as well. 
Of the social life of the country, however, we know 
very little The chroniclers of the period are monks, 
or noble ecclesiastics who wrote of, and for their 
own class, and the people did not enter into their 
concerns. But the political changes were very great. 
The Frankish county administrations fell into disuse 


through the increase of immunities granted to royal 
and ecclesiastical foundations, by which they were 
exempted from obedience to the county officers. The 
counts themselves, who had formerly held office at 
the sovereign's pleasure, gradually made their 
dignities into hereditary fiefs, which became family 
property in wealth)- and powerful houses. Thus, at 
the close of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth 
century we already find in Switzerland a number of 
counts, such as the Nellenburger, in Zurichgau ; the 
Lenzburger, in Aargau ; the Burkharde, in Chur- 
Rhaetia ; the Kyburger, at Winterthur, near Zurich. 
The greatest changes, however, were effected by the 
growth of feudalism, which had arisen indeed under 
Charlemagne, but had to some extent been checked 
by him. Feudalism outgrew all other systems, and 
entirely disarranged the social scale. The free 
peasantry shrank to a small number, and there sprang 
up a martial nobility of high functionaries, who held 
offices in the army or courts of justice, and exerted 
much influence. On the native soil, on the very 
meeting-places where the old German people had 
assembled to deal with civil and judicial matters, 
eminent men founded families which grew into 
reigning houses. These men, combining political 
discernment with military ability and experience, 
rose above their fellows, and assumed the highest 
offices. The distresses, the dissensions, the intestine 
wars, and particularly the invasions by savage hordes, 
drove people to seek the protection of powerful lords, 
even at the risk of losing their own independence. 
In most cases the people became " un free," or serfs. 


Society thus was divided into distinct classes ; the 
old German democracy gave place to a highly 
aristocratic order, the nobility ruling over the people. 
Thus, we find Switzerland, like other European 
countries, struggling through her age of feudalism, 
and centuries must yet pass before she succeeds in 
establishing a system of government which alone will 
suit her peculiar character. 

At that stage of history the welfare of the country 
depended to a great extent on the personal eharacter 
of the imperial sovereigns. They visited Swabia and 
Burgundy, enforcing order and discipline, holding 
diets at important places, and assigning prerogatives 
to secular and religious foundations. In truth, these 
imperial visits promoted greatly the development of 
rising cities. Of the German emperors none came so 
often to Switzerland as the powerful Salic ruler, 
Henry III. When he left Burgundy — he was often 
at Basel and Solothurn — the people felt, says a 
contemporary writer, as if the sun had gone down. 
Henry II. and Henry III. held imperial diets at 
Zurich, and the latter used to reside there for weeks 
together, and lavished privileges and gifts on her 
religious foundations. He promoted festivals in the 
royal palace (Pfalz), in the Lindcncourt ; and Zurich 
was the meeting-place for his Burgundian and Italian 
subjects, the capital of Swabia, and residence of the 
Swabian dukes, where they here established their 
mint. His wise administration tended greatly to 
destroy all political difference and hostile feeling 
between the two Helvetias. 

This national concord (1057-77, was still further 


strengthened by the rule of Rudolf of Rheinfelden, 
who for twenty years swayed the destinies of the 
country as " Rector of Burgundy " and Duke of 
Alamannia. The regal and ducal power had been 
bestowed upon him by the Empress Agnes, on the 
death of Henry III., whose son-in-law he was. 
Rudolf was from the manor of Rheinfelden, near 
Basel, and was a distant connection of the Burgundian 
royal family. He held vast estates on Geneva lake, 
and in Swabia, and thus met with no opposition on 
the part of the nobility of Burgundy. But this long 
period of peace was suddenly and sadly interrupted 
by a terrible catastrophe which fell upon the empire ; 
the fierce antagonism which arose between Gregory 
VII. and Henry IV. The emperor was unwilling to 
submit to the excessive encroachments of the Church, 
or, rather the Pontiff, on his prerogatives, and like 
William I. of England, entirely repudiated the Pope's 
claims, and tried to check his encroachments. The 
" Conqueror " indeed had gained so much power that 
the Pope could not issue excommunications against 
English subjects except by William's permission, but 
Henry IV. fell a victim to the Interdict. Never was 
sovereign more humiliated by the Papal power, nor 
more humiliated himself to escape the terrible punish- 
ment, for interdicts were fearful weapons in the hands 
of the Pontiffs of the Middle Ages. The story of this 
long struggle — how the emperor failed to carry his 
point — his wanderings across the Alps in the depth 
of winter — his submission at Canossa — for all this, 
full of thrilling interest as it is, the reader must be 
referred to the history of Germany. 



On the deposition of Henry, our Rudolf of Rhein- 
felden was elected king by the opposing party, and 
was thence called the Popish king (Pfaffenkonig) ; 
thus Switzerland, it is almost needless to say, was 
drawn into the struggle and convulsed by intestine 
wars. The bishops of Lausanne, Geneva, and Basel ; 
the seigneurs of Grandson and Neuchatel, clung to 
the emperor ; the counts of Geneva and Toggenburg, 
the houses of Habsburg, Kyburg, and Savoy, and the 
clergy of Alamannia and Chur-Rhastia sided with the 
new king. St. Gall rallied round its valiant abbot, 
Ulrich III., to uphold the cause of Henry. The wars 
were continued with alternate successes and reverses 
on each side, till the death of Rudolf in 1080 on the 
Grona, near Leipzig, it was said by the hand of 
Godefroi de Bouilloi., die famous crusader, who 
fought on the side of Henry. The intensity of bitter 
feeling gradually abated. Henry even tried to 
establish his royal authority in Burgundy, but in 
Alamannia new quarrels broke out on the question of 
the succession to the duchy. Two native Swabian 
dukes contended for the duchy, Frederick von 
Staufen, grandfather of Frederick Barbarossa, the 
ancestor of the illustrious dynasty, and Duke Bertold 
von Zaeringen, brother-in-law and heir to the estates 
of the son of the late Rudolf of Rheinfelden, who 
died shortly after his father. The differences were 
settled by a diet at Maycnce, in 1097, and Frederick 
von Staufen, son-in-law to Henry, who had staunchly 
upheld and fought for the imperial cause in the 
Popish quarrels, was invested with the Swabian 
duchy. Yet his power on the Swiss side of the 


Rhine was more nominal than real, and it was exerted 
by Bcrtold II. of Zacringen, who received in com- 
pensation for the loss of the duchy the ducal title, 
and the ReicJtsvogtei Ziiridi (a kind of prefecture), 
together with the royal prerogatives over the secular 
and religious institutions of the city. For Zurich was 
then the noblest and most conspicuous town in 
Swabia, as Bishop Otto von Freysingen, the most 
prominent historian of the Middle Ages, asserts. 
This severance of Swiss Alamannia, and particularly 
of the imperial prefecture of Zurich, from the empire 
tended greatly to bring about the gradual political 
separation. Under the Zaeringer came again a long 
period of comparative peace. 



THE rule of the Dukes of Zaeringen ushered in a 
long period of comparative peace (1 100-12 18), which 
improved the social and material condition of the 
people. Yet this time of peace was every now and 
again interrupted in the west by feuds with the 
Burgundian nobles. This Swabian family took their 
name from the ancestral manor of Zaeringen, near 
Freiburg, in the Breisgau (Black Forest). The vast 
estates they had derived from the House of Rhein- 
felden on its extinction reached from Lake Geneva 
to the rivers Aare and Emme, and gave them a 
dominant position in the country at the opening of 
the twelfth century. 

Burgundy had been slowly falling away from the 
empire during its internal dissensions and its conflicts 
with the Papacy. But on the death of Count William 
IV, who was assassinated by his own people in 1127, 
the Emperor Lothair drew that province more closely 


to his realm, by bestowing the regency of it on his 
adherent, Conrad of Zacringen. Conrad's position 
was, however, violently contested by Rainald III., 
a relative of the murdered count. The Burgundian 
nobles rallied round him, and made a desperate stand 
against German interference, and he maintained his 
independence in the Franche Comte, as the district 
was subsequently called. When Frederick Barbarossa 
married Beatrix, the daughter and heiress of Rainald, 
he claimed the Burgundian territory, and came into 
conflict with the Zaeringcr. Berchtold IV. obtained 
the position of suzerain over the sees of Geneva, 
Lausanne, and Sion, and by this division Swiss 
Burgundy was being lopped off from its appendage 
beyond Mount Jura. The insubordinate prelates 
joined with secular princes to upset the German rule. 
To guard against these protracted struggles, and to 
increase their own influence in the country, the 
Zaeringer resorted to a means which does them 
great credit, and which won for them the affection 
of the people. They began to found towns, as they 
had done in Germany, or to raise settlements into 
fortified cities, and granted them extensive liberties. 
The lesser nobles and the common people found 
shelter in these walled towns against the overbearing 
amongst the high nobility ; trade and industry began 
to thrive, and these city commonwealths rose to a 
flourishing condition, and became a source of wealth 
as well as a staunch support to their founders. 

Bertold or Berchtold IV. (11 52-1 186) planned a 
whole strategical line of strongholds in the west, as a 
check on the nobles; and in 1 177 he founded the 


free city of Freiburg on his own estates. The situ- 
ation, on a high plateau above the Saane, was on the 
line of demarcation between the French and German 
tongues. To this new town he granted a charter 
of liberties similar to that granted to its sister 
foundation of the same name in the Breisgau. 

Bertold V. (1186-1218) followed in the steps of 
his father. He founded and fortified Burgdorf, 
Moudon, Yverdon, Laupen, Murten, Gumminen, 
Thun. These towns he founded to be not only 
places of military strength, but also centres of 
industry and trade, which snould increase the pros- 
perity of his people. But he had, however, to stand 
against the heavy opposition of the Burgundian 
nobles. As he was preparing to set out on a 
crusade with Frederick Barbarossa they rose in arms. 
Hastening back, he defeated the refractory rebels, 
both at Avenches and in the Grindelwald valley, in 
1 191, and immediately after his victories he resumed 
his strategical projects. On a promontory washed by 
the Aare, and on imperial crown lands, he raised a new 
citadel, to which he gave the name of Bern, probably 
in memory of Dietrich of Berne ^Verona), a favourite 
hero of Alamannic mediaeval poetry. 1 The lesser 
nobles of the neighbourhood, as well as the humbler 
people, poured into Bern for shelter, and, receiving 
a most liberal charter, these burgesses rapidly rose to 
wealth and power. Being built on imperial land, 
Bern took from the first a higher standing than the 
lister town, Freiburg. 

1 Sec Xibelungen. 


These city foundations form a chief corner-stone 
in the fabric of Swiss liberties. Attaining political 
independence, the towns held their own against 
aggressors. To effect their deliverance from oppres- 
sion, they united with kindred communities or with 
powerful princes, and thus began the system of 
offensive and defensive alliances. 

A new enemy arose in the West, and Bertold V. 
was defeated by Count Thomas of Savoy (121 1), who 
encroached on Vaud, and seized Moudon. Yet the 
Zaeringer steadily and successfully strengthened their 
hold over the country, and obtained the most com- 
plete independence. And, indeed, the moment 
seemed drawing near when Switzerland was to be 
shaped into a durable monarchical state. However, 
she was spared that fate — from which no patriotic 
act of any national hero could probably have rescued 
her — by a natural, yet providential, event, the extinc- 
tion of the ducal family. For in 1218 Bertold V. 
died, leaving no issue. 

This century is eminently an age of religious move- 
ments. And, although our space will not permit us 
to enter into full details, yet it is impossible to 
pass over the great religious revival which centred 
in the Crusades, that is, so far as that movement 
touches Switzerland. 

On the ioth of December, in the year 1 146, a 
most touching scene might have been witnessed in 
the minster of Schaffhausen. The Alamannic 
people were thronging the church to listen to a 
glowing sermon from a French Cistercian monk, 
Bernard de Clairvaux. Vividly deoictincr the distress 


of the Christians in Palestine, he invited his hearers 
to join the second crusade. France was ready, he 
said, but the House of Hohenstaufen was still waver- 
ing. His captivating manner, his noble earnestness, 
and the elegance and flow of his language — though 
it was but half understood by the masses — stirred 
the audience to bursts of enthusiasm. " Your land 
is fertile," were the concluding words of the monk, 
" and the world is filled with the reputation of your 
valour. Ye soldiers of Christ, arise ! and hurl down 
the enemies of the Cross ! " Laying his hands on 
the blind and lame, says the half-legendary story, he 
restored to them eyesight or the use of limbs, and, 
strewing crosses amongst the crowds, left the church. 
The people, in a state of ecstatic fervour, beat their 
breasts, and, shedding tears, broke into a shout of 
" Kyrie eleison, the saints are with us ! " x On the 
15th of the same month Bernard preached at Zurich, 
and on Christmas Day at Speyer, before Conrad III., 
whom he won for the crusaae. His fervent exhorta- 
tions seem to have found willing ears, too, in the 
country. Schaffhausen and Einsiedeln took an active 
share in the work. We hear of almost countless 
numbers of spiritual and secular princes, nobles, 
knights, and lesser people who joined in the crusade. 
The counts of Montfort, Kyburg, Habsburg, Zaerin- 
gen, and Neuchatel, and bishops and abbots started 
for the East. Contemporary writers bewail the loss 
of so many of the best and bravest of South Ger- 
many who died in Palestine. The holy orders of 
the Knights of St. John, of the Teutonic order, and 

' Prof. Bachtold, " Sermon Literature in Switzerland." 


me Knights-Templars raised their aristocratic institu- 
tions in this country ; new orders of monastic founda- 
tions sprang up, which we cannot here dwell upon. 
Amongst these was in the 13th century that of Mendi- 
cant Friars, though it is worthy of note that these played 
no such part in Switzerland as they did in England. 

Yet the Burgundian or western portion of the 
country plunged more deeply into the movement 
than did the eastern part. German enthusiasm was 
but slowly won by French religious ecstasy, which 
had to a great extent started the Crusades. Still 
the age was filled with religious and romantic frenzy. 
Not the mere practical aims of conquest or gain it 
was that stirred men's minds, but the mystical 
elements of the movement, and the grand, novel, 
and indeed fabulous sights that were to be witnessed; 
and the old love of wandering and adventure revived, 
and drove men to the East. By a happy coincidence 
the effect of Bernard's sermons was lessened to some 
extent in this country by the previous teachings of 
another enthusiast of a far different stamp. The 
intrepid Italian reformer, Arnold of Brescia, had for 
some time preached at Zurich and Constance, sowing 
the seeds of heresy. Boldly attacking the abuses 
of the Church, and advocating the return to the 
simplicity of the apostolic teaching, he invited people 
to no longer lavish wealth on Church institutions. 
Arnold fell a victim to his advanced religious and 
political views, but his teachings took hold of the 
people of the Alpine districts. To his influence may 
safely be attributed the staunch resistance to Papal 
aggressiveness shown in the thirteenth century by 
the people of Zurich and of the Forest Cantons. 




We are nearing the period of their history most 
dear to the Swiss, the period when the Eidgenos- 
senschaft is forming, but before reaching it we have 
still to make our way as best we can through a short 
era of chaotic feudalism and political confusion 
generally, preceding the great struggle for Swiss 
independence. On the extinction of the House of 
Zaeringen Switzerland fell a prey to the designs of 
vassal princes who had started into eminence on her 
soil, and now contended for supremacy over her. 
The realm of the Zaeringen sovereigns fell to pieces, 
the Swiss portions with Freiburg, Burgdorf, Thun, 
going to a native prince, Ulrich, Count of Kybtirg, 
brother-in-law of Berchtold V. ; the Swabian portions 
to a German relative. Thus Switzerland was cut off 
from Swabia The crown lands he had held in Swiss 
Burgundy, and likewise the royal prerogative, fell to 
the empire, and the Vice-regency, being vested by 
Frederick II. in his younger son, Henry, became 


gradually nominal and at length died out. In this 
way all vassal princes in the west, and all the terri- 
torial lordships and free cities, such as Bern, Solothurn. 
Morat, Laupen, Gumminen, which were built on 
crown lands, and had been subjected to the Zaerings. 
were now held directly from the emperor. Zurich was 
likewise restored to the empire. By this time most 
cf these places had become virtually independent. 

Switzerland reflects most faithfully the feudal and 
political condition of the empire at large. It was 
torn into an almost countless number of spiritual and 
secular territorial sovereignties. Taking advantage 
of the state of distraction prevailing throughout the 
realm, Church prelates, religious foundations, the 
greater and lesser nobles, and even the thriving 
burgesses of great city commonwealths, all strove to 
erect their lands into petty independent dominions. 
The bishops assumed temporal power in their own 
dioceses ; the religious-houses, owing to their " rich 
immunities," enjoyed almost perfect freedom. The 
peasantry had dwindled into small bodies of men, and 
in the place of the Frankish county-officers (counts) a 
martial nobility had sprung up, and, grasping the 
public functions and dignities, bad turned these offices 
into freeholds independent of the sovereign. Hence- 
forward they assumed the names of the feudal manors 
they held, and began to raise chateaux-forts on com- 
manding or picturesque spots. As many as two 
hundred territorial rulers held their feudal sway in 
Switzerland. To give even the names of these would 
be not only useless, but absurd, yet they had their 
share in the: political development of the country. 


In the .Low Valais the counts of Savoy had obtained 
a footing, and were moreover advancing into Vaud. 
Vaud was at that time governed by a host of more or 
less important nobles, such as the barons of Grandson, 
Cossotiay, Blonay, &c, and was contended for by the 
bishops of Lausanne and Geneva, and the counts ot 
the latter town, whilst the counts of Greycrz governed 
in the districts of the Saane, and those of Xeuchatel 
in the lake districts of the Jura. Little Burgundy, 
with Solothurn as capital fell to the counts of Buchegg. 
One of the wealthiest and most ancient of the native 
families was that of Lenzburg, whose counts held 
sway in Aargau, Zurichgau, and the Forest Cantons. 
and were governors of famous religious-houses. One 
of the counts of Lenzburg, Ulrich IX., was an intimate 
friend and a minister of Frederick Barbarossa, and on 
the extinction of the rule of these counts, their 
heritage fell to the Habsburgs, and gave that family 
a great lift in the early days of their rise. In the 
east we meet with the famous House of Kyburg, to 
which belonged young Wern er, the friend of Ernest 
II. of Swabia. Their ancestral manor house near 
Winterthur is still in good condition. They had 
numerous vassals and followers. In Zurichgau the 
barons of Regensberg and others, and the counts of 
Rapperswyl were harassing the people. The most 
powerful nobles in the east were the abbots of St. 
Gall, who governed part of St. Gall and Appcnzell, 
and the counts of Toggenburg, and in Chur-Rhastia 
and the Rhine districts the counts of Montfort and 
Werdcnberg. This sufficiently shows how feudalism 
had grown apace in Switzerland, and what a hard 


struggle the people had to hold their own against the 
impositions of princes and nobles. How feudalism 
had arisen has been already shown in the previous 

To find some explanation of this rapid growth and 
the distracted state that followed in its train we must 
turn for a moment to the empire. Owing no doubt 
to the loftiness of the imperial dignity — for the 
emperors were indisputably the greatest of the 
civilized monarchs — the vassal princes rose to far 
greater independence in the empire than in other 
countries. Yet the possession of the imperial crown 
was in the end the weakening of royalty. Henry III. 
had raised the empire to its pinnacle of greatness, and 
the imperial dignity increased the prestige of the 
German name, and surrounded the German monarch 
with a halo of glory and even reverence. But the 
engagements abroad, the campaigns in Italy, the 
struggles with the Pontiffs, and the close attention 
required to be paid to Italian affairs, kept the emperors 
away from duties and cares nearer home. The Italian 
claims and titles, in fact, proved in the long run 
injurious to German interests. Frederick I., Bar- 
barossa, had indeed, by his just and powerful rule, 
forced his insubordinate vassals into submission, but 
it was far different with his grandson, the brilliant 
Frederick II. (1215-50). Born in Italy and brought 
up to love the land of his birth, Naples and Sicily, more 
than his fatherland, Frederick II. was more Southerner 
than Teuton. He gave Southern Italy a model ad- 
ministration, but allowed Germany to be weakened 
by a divided internal government. And though we 



cannot but admire the unflinching spirit with which 
this " wonder of the world " carried on nis unequal 
struggle with the Papacy, yet it is clear that the 
conflict which sealed the doom of his own family was 
equally ruinous to the empire. 1 

During the interregnum (1254-73) Germany was 
without an actual ruler, although two foreign princes 
had been elected as its sovereigns. One of these 
never even showed his face in Germany, and the other, 
Richard of Cornwall, could not make sure his ascen- 
dency in the country, notwithstanding all the money 
he lavished in the attempt. This was the unhappy 
time of the FaustrecJit — the name indicates its cha- 
racter — when the right of the strong hand (fist) alone 
was of avail. The empire lost its prestige, and it 
slowly dissolved into a loose confederacy of some five 
thousand larger or smaller states and fragments of 
states, each struggling for independence. 

Most eminent amongst the crowd of nobles on 
Swiss soil aiming at their personal exaltation were the 
counts of the great Houses of Kyburg, Savoy, and 
Habsburg. Taking advantage of the general state of 
misgovernment or want of government, they syste- 
matically planned the aggrandisement of their own 
families, whether by conquest, purchase, or unjust 
encroachment. Yet there was opposition from the 
city burgesses, who, seeing their liberties in danger, 
felt the love of freedom roused in their breasts. 

The powerful Kyburgcr, the mightiest Swiss 
nobles, were the first to threaten the liberties of the 

' For more complete account of the Hohenstaufen see Freeman's 
" Holy Roman Empire," Frederick I., II. 


people. Count Ulrich was reckoned one of tne 
wealthiest princes throughout Svvabia. By clever 
policy he had arranged the union of his son Hartmann 
(the elder) with Margaretha of Savoy. Ulrich's 
daughter, too, was married to Albrecht of Habsburg, 
and became the mother of Rudolf, the German king. 
He upheld the cause of Frederick II., and his elder 
son. Werner, went with him on his crusade where he 
was carried off by the plague, leaving one son, Hart- 
mann the Younger. Their territories, after they had 
'inherited the Zaeringen estates, reached from Lake 
Constance to Swiss Burgundy. Both the elder and 
the younger Hartmann encroached without scruple on 
the crown lands adjoining their estates, whilst Frederick 
II. was engaged in his struggle with the Church. In 
this emergency Bern and Murten, whose independence 
was at stake, followed suit, and resorted to means 
which would be a precedent in the future struggles 
for Swiss freedom. They joined in an offensive and 
defensive union with the Kyburg city, Freiburg, with 
Lucerne and the Bishop of Sion (1243). Bern had 
always adhered closely to the Hohenstaufen, and when 
Hartmann ventured on an open attack in 1255, that 
city applied to the empire for help. Unable to obtain 
support, however, both Bern and Murten placed 
themselves under the patronage of Count Peter of 
Savoy, who was already at variance with Kyburg, and 
a peace was arranged. 

Peter of Savoy, " the second Charlemagne " as he 
was styled, was a most remarkable man, and a striking 
figure amongst the Savoy princes. Being the fourth 
of seven brothers he had been placed in the Church 


by his father, Count Thomas. However, on the death 
of the father Peter doffed his priestly robes, married 
the heiress of Faucigny, and added that province and 
Chablais to his territories, and set up as guardian of 
his brothers. Like his father he had constantly his 
mind on Yaud, and the daily feuds amongst its 
leaderless swarm of nobles facilitated the conquest. 
Castles were erected to further his object ; and 
Chillon, which to-day gives us an excellent idea of 
what a fine feudal castle was in mediaeval days, 
became his princely residence, having indeed been, to 
a great extent, built by him. Invited to the Court of 
England by his niece Eleanor, he spent a great 
part of his life abroad, gathering in the service of 
Henry III. men and money. These he used to 
achieve the acquisition of Vaud, to which he every 
now and then returned to overthrow his enemies. In 
England he occupied a high position in the Council, 
was knighted, and had titles and honours lavished on 
him ; the palace of the Savoy in the Strand bears 
witness to his magnificence. Many of the nobles in 
his train, such as De la Porte, Grandson, Flechere, 
married Englishwomen, and hence arose the family 
names of Porter, Grandison, Fletcher. Possessing an 
iron will, and thoroughly versed in diplomacy, Peter 
of Savoy finally annexed Vaud, partly by conquest 
and partly by agreement. In truth, the whole nobility 
lay at his feet ready to do him homage and acknow- 
ledge him as lord paramount. The German govern- 
ment sanctioned his protectorate of Bern and Morat, 
and Richard of Cornwall his conquests in the Bernese 
Highlands. Thus West Switzerland became the 


portion of a Savoy prince, and in the place of the 
ancient kingdom of Upper Burgundy arose a feudal 
sovereignty. However, order, discipline, and wise 
organization were the fruits of Peter's rule. .And his 
generous nature, his chivalrous spirit, and his love of 
justice and good government, won for him the affection 
of his people, and the title of Le Petit, or Le Second, 

Presently the Kyburg domains in Eastern Switzer- 
land devolved on his sister Margaretha, the Countess- 
dowager, the male line having died out in 1264 — the 
elder Hartmann leaving no children, and the younger 
but one daughter, Anna, a minor. But when Peter 
attempted to take possession of the inheritance in the 
name of his sister he found himself in conflict with a 
rival claimantof superior strength, Rudolf,of Habsburg. 
This prince confiscated the whole of the lands of 
Hartmann the Elder, regardless of the claims cf the 
widow, Margaretha. There was no mistaking the 
meaning of this, and war broke out between Savoy 
and Habsburg. Rudolf invited the whole of the 
nobles of the west to rise against Count Peter. He 
was engaged in East Switzerland when the Bur- 
gundian lords proceeded to besiege Chillon, in 1266. 
Peter himself was at war in the Valais. He suddenly 
returned, and at dead of night fell upon the enemy. 
He found them asleep, and some eighty nobles, 
barons, counts, seigneurs, and followers fell into his 
hands. These he conducted into the castle of Chillon, 
but instead of treating them as prisoners, entertained 
them at a banquet. Thus Peter became once more 
master of the west. Bern by a " writ of submission" 


regained from the House of Savoy the freedom it had 
forfeited on a previous occasion. 1 Rudolf signed a 
peace at Morat, and obtained the Kyburg heritage 
with the exception of the lands settled on the 
Dowager Countess. On the death of the " Conqueror 
of Vaud," which occurred soon after, the sovereignty 
passed to his brother Philip, a man of far inferior 
stamp. French Switzerland, save Geneva, gradually 
became a loose confederation of petty states, and 
their languishing political life led to their gradual 
amalgamation with the Eastern Republics. 

The mOst dangerous champion enters the lists 
when the great Habsburg prince seizes on the reins 
of government in Switzerland. In its early stages 
the rule of the Habsburger is closely linked with, and 
is indeed the incitement to, the national movement or 
rising, if such a word may be applied in the case of a 
people just forming. The famous Habsburg family 
was of right noble and ancient lineage. Whether 
they sprang from Swiss soil (Aargau), or had their 
origin in Alsacia, is not quite settled. As a matter 
of fact, they were a Swabian family who possessed 
vast estates in both those countries. Their estates, 
(" Eigen," allods or freeholds) with Windisch, Brugg 
Muri, lay at the junction of the Aare and Reuss, in 
Aargau. Originally they dwelt in the castle of 
Altenburg, near Brugg, and subsequently in their 

' The story runs that Peter allowed the town to ask a favour in return 
for past services, and the witty men of Bern at once begged for the 
restitution of their lost liberty. Henceforth Peter was regarded :.s the 
benefactor and second founder of the city. 


manor of Habsburg, on the Wiilpelsberg, 1 a little hill 
overlooking the ancient Vindonissa. Numerous other 
castles they held as time went on. 

Rudolf der Alte (the Old) is the first of the ancestors 
of whom we know much. He accompanied Frederick 
II. on his campaigns, and that great emperor stood 
godfather to his grandson Rudolf, who was later on 
to wear his royal crown. On his death the dynasty 
split into two branches, Habsburg-Austria (senior), 
and Habsburg- Laufenburg Aargau (junior), the heads 
being respectively Albrecht the Wise and Rudolf the 
Silent, his sons. Each of these branches followed its 
own separate policy, the junior holding to the Papacy. 
Albrecht cleverly contrived to marry Heilwig of 
Kyburg, hoping thus to inherit the estates of her 
childless brother, Hartmann the elder. He died, it 
was rumoured, whilst engaged in one of the crusades, 
and his estates passed to his sons, of whom, however, 
but one survived, our Rudolf of Habsburg. This 
man within the space of thirty years made his family 
one of the mightiest in the empire. Rudolf inherited 
from his father the family estate on the Aare, with 
Habsburg Castle. Besides this, he succeeded to 
various titles and lands, to the lordship of several 
towns in the Aargau, to the prefecture ( Vogtci) over 
the religious-houses of Sackingen and Muri, to the 
landgraviate of Alsacia, and so forth. 

Though but one-and-twenty when his father died, 

' Tradition Kays that one of their ancestors, Radbot, hunting in the 
Aargau, lost his favourite hawk, and found it sitting on the ridge of the 
Wiilpelsbtrg. Being delighted with the view, Radbot built a castle 
there, and called it Hawk Castle, Habichtsburg, or Habsburg. 



Rudolf at once displayed great energy, as well as 
firmness and caution. In the struggle with the 
Papacy he held to the Staufen. It mattered little to 
him that his estates were under an interdict, and 
himself excommunicated. He held faithfully to the 
illustrious dynasty, and accompanied its last repre- 
sentative, Conradin, across the Alps, to Verona, in 
1267. On the death of Conradin on the scaffold at 
Naples, and the consequent extinction of the Staufen 
line, Rudolf veered gradually round to the side of the 

Rudolf was highly popular with the peasantry, 
winning their hearts by his affability, simple habits, 
and kindly good-nature. His tall and slender person, 
thin face, and aquiline nose, were striking features, 
and not easily forgotten when once seen. He had 
been known to mend with his own hands, after a 
campaign, the old grey coat he usually wore, and 
this was but a typical act of his. And the proud 
opposition he offered to a plundering nobility quite 
won for him the confidence of the people. The great 
cities stood on good terms with him, and sought his 
friendship and aid. Thus did the Alsacian towns 
seek his help against the bishops of Strasburg ; 
Zurich against the barons of Regensberg and Toggen- 
burg. On many an occasion did he render remarkable 
service in this way, of which one instance must suffice. 
The barons of Regensberg had a castle on the Uto, 
a mountain towering above Zurich, and from thence 
often sent men to waylay and rob the citizens who 
chanced to pass that way. v Rudolf hit on a crafty 
device. Riding up the Uetlibcrg with thirty men of 


Zurich, he placed behind each man a companion, 
and so came to the gate of the castle. The garrison 
despising a band apparently so small, rushed out of 
the gates upon them. But great was their terror 
when suddenly the men riding behind appeared in 
sight, and, taking to flight, they left the castle at the 
mercy of the strange attacking party. The place was 
levelled with the ground. Rudolf was asked by a 
body of free men of Uri to be their umpire in a 
dispute, and he actually sat in judgment on the 
matter, under the linden at Altorf, a fact which bears 
witness to his popularity amongst the people. Yet, 
with many amiable qualities, Rudolf was covetous, 
ambitious, and violent. Bent on raising* his family to 
greatness, he reveals a most mercenary spirit, and 
shows himself unscrupulous in the pursuit of gain. 
It has been shown above, how he had seized the 
Kyburg lands ; he also made himself guardian of 
Anna of KyBurg, and when she came of age, united 
her to his cousin, Eberhard of Habsburg. Thus was 
founded the new House of Kyburg-Burgdorf. He 
obtained from them Anna's heritage in the Aargau, 
besides Zug, Art, Willisau, Sempach, &c, as well as 
lands in the Forest Cantons. He was one of those 
chieftains who profited immensely by the distraction 
during the interregnum. 

Whilst engaged in storming Basel, whose bishop 
had encroached on the Alsacian territories, the news 
was brought to Rudolf (October 1, 1273) that he had 
been elected King of Germany, at Frankfort, and, 
raising the siege, he at once proceeded to his coro- 
nation at Aix-la-Chapelle. 


Rudolf's influence greatly altered the policy ot 
Germany. He made his peace with Gregory X. at 
Lausanne in 1275, and entered into a close alliance 
with him. Thus an end was put to the unfortunate 
quarrels with the Papal power, and the German king 
was set at liberty to follow his own ambitions, aims, 
and plans. He resigned all claim to Italy, and so far 
also to the imperial dignity, which had once been of 
such splendour, and had indeed been almost equivalent 
to the government of the whole world. Sober, 
cautious, c nd matter-of-fact as he was, Rudolf cared 
not for merely ideal greatness, and devoted himself 
to following more practical aims. The empire had 
been impoverished by the late crisis, and by the 
different calamities which had befallen it ; and the 
German princes had risen to positions of defiant 
independence. Seeing beforehand that the authority 
of the crown must be founded on the wealth and 
hereditary possessions of the sovereign, Rudolf made 
the aggrandisement of his family the chief object of 
his career. Fortune's favourite he seemed indeed to 
be, and gained a great victory over his opponent to 
the throne, Ottokar of Bohemia (1278), and secured 
from him the Duchy of Austria, with Steyermark. 
This he vested as a new possession in his own family. 

Notwithstanding the extension of his power east- 
ward, he likewise continued his aggressive policy in 
Switzerland. He forced from Philip of Savoy the 
cession of Payerne, Murten, &c, and waged war with 
Bern, which held to Savoy, refusing to pay the royal 
taxes (1288). Making ample use of his exalted 
position and unlimited power, he lost no opportunity 


of buying up princes and religious-houses in pecuniary 
difficulties. He compelled the Abbots of St. Gall, 
Ulrich von Giittingen, and William of Montfort, to 
cede to him lands and farms, forcing on them as 
steward a worthless fellow who was a devoted 
adherent of the Habsburgs. When the male line of 
Rapperswyl died out, the fiefs which should have 
passed to the Abbey of St Gall, he gave to his own 
sons. And, taking advantage of the pecuniary straits 
of the monastery of Murbach, he obtained by cne 
means or another Lucerne, which belonged to the 
abbey, as well as numerous farms reaching into the 
Forest Cantons. The stewardship of Einsiedeln and 
Pfaffers likewise fell to his share. Many more 
instances might be given to show how Rudolf's clever 
and unscrupulous scheming extended his power all 
over the midlands and the eastern districts, and how 
grievously his heavy hand was felt throughout the 
country. Yet the famous Habsburgs, able, warlike, 
and energetic as they were, met with one obstacle to 
their progress which they were unable to remove, 
and against which all their plans came to nought — 
the love of freedom innate in the Swiss peoples. 




In the present chapter we have to attempt the 
task of separating truth from fiction, at all times, 
perhaps, a difficult, and often an impossible, under- 
taking, in matters of history. This chapter indeed 
splits itself naturally into Wahrheit and Dichtung. 
Fortunately the stories of Tell and the three Eidge- 
nossen are everywhere well known, and will need 
but little description at our hands. 

A lake of exquisite beauty extends between the 
Forest Cantons, and, so to speak, links them together, 
the whole forming a singularly picturesque stretch 
of country. Separated from the sister cantons and 
from the outside world, each of these little states 
formed a world of its own. The lake was the com- 
mon outlet, and the rallying- point for the peoples 
of the secluded valleys. The various armlets into 
which it branches, like the districts which lie about 
them, have each their peculiar charm. Of these 
cantons Unterwalden has a pastoral character, and 


attracts attention by its beautiful verdure — velvety 
slopes, green meads, clusters of nut-trees in the lower 
parts, orchards of fruit trees, the country dotted 
everywhere with sunburnt huts, forming a tout en- 
semble truly idyllic. Schwyz is a canton of similar 
natural appearance, with green pastures and some- 
what gentler slopes, but broad terraces with their 
red cottages line the valley. Above the chief town 
of the same name, which nestles at the head of the 
dale it commands, shining, dazzlingly white with its 
snug whitewashed houses, rise to the sky the torn 
but imposing pyramids of the two Myten. Uri is 
par excellence the highland district amongst the three 
little states. Towering mountains and inaccessible 
rocks hem in a strip of water, and give that wondrous 
hue which makes the charm of Uri lake. 

The inhabitants arc of the Alpine mould. Sinewy, 
robust, quick, shrewd, they are persevering, fearless, 
bold, and self-reliant ; they are yet simple in their 
habits, artless in manner, pious, and strongly con- 
servative, each people having however its own 
characteristic points of difference. Ever exposed to 
danger, their struggles with nature for the supply 
of their daily wants have increased their strength 
of body, brought out their mettle, and quickened their 
natural intelligence. Thus it was not the love of 
innovation, or even of reform, that led them to form 
their " League of Perpetual Alliance," in 1291. They 
entered into the Confederation but to check the 
aggressions of the Habsburgcrs. 

Such is the district and such the race from which 
arose the three famed Hidgenosscn, Walter Fiirst von 


Attinghausen, Werner Stauffacher, and Arnold von 
Melchthal, who, on the " Rutli," swore a solemn 
oath to save their country from rulers shameless as 
they were cruel. 

Tradition reports that King Albrecht, sen of 
Rudolf ( 1 298-1 308), greatly oppressed the three 
Waldstatten, doing his best to reduce the people 
to the condition of bondmen. To the various 
stewards or bailiffs whom he set over them, he gave 
strict orders to keep well in check the people of 


(By Dr. Imhoof.) 

the Forest Cantons. These overseers grew into 
covetous and cruel tyrants, who taxed, fined, im- 
prisoned, and reviled the unfortunate inhabitants. 
To complain to the monarch was useless, as he 
refused to listen. One of these stewards, or lieu- 
tenant-governors, was Gessler, and a particularly 
haughty and spiteful governor he was. Passing on one 
occasion through Steinen (Schwyz), he was struck 
by the sight of a fine stone-built house, and filled 


with envy he inquired of Werner Stauffacher, who 
happened to be the owner, whose it was. Fearing 
the governor's anger the wealthy proprietor replied 
cautiously, " The holding is the king's, your grace's, 
and mine." " Can we suffer the peasantry to live 
in such fine houses ? " exclaimed Gessler, scornfully, 
as he rode away. Landenberg, another of these 
."unjust stewards," at Sarnen, being informed that a 
rich farmer in the Melchi (Unterwalden), had a fine 
pair of oxen, sent his man for them. Young Arnold, 
of Mclchthal, the son of the farmer, was standing by 
when the animals were being unyoked, and, enraged 
at the sight, raised his stick, and struck the governor's 
servant a blow, breaking one of his fingers. But 
being afraid of the governor's wrath, young Arnold 
fled. So Landenberg seized the old father, brought 
him to his castle, and had his eyes put out. 

Werner Stauffacher, was consumed by secret grief, 
and his wife, guessing what was on his mind, gave 
him such counsel that, nerving himself to action, he 
went over to Uri and Unterwalden to look for kindred 
spirits and fellow-sufferers. At the house of Walter 
Furst, of Attinghausen (Uri), he met with the young 
man from the Melchi, to whom he was able to tell 
the sad news that the old father had been blinded 
by Landenberg. Here the three patriots unburdened 
to each other their sorrowing hearts, and vowed a 
vow to free their country from oppressors, and restore 
its ancient liberties. Gradually opening their plans 
to their kindred and friends, they arranged nightly 
meetings on the Riitli, a secluded Alpine mead above 
the Mytcnstcin, on Uri lake. Meeting in small bands 


so as not to excite suspicion, they deliberated as to 
how best their deliverance might be effected. On 
the night of the 17th of November, 1307, Walter 
Fiirst, Arnold of Melchthal, and Werner Stauffacher, 
met on the Riitli, each taking with him ten intimate 
associates. Their hearts swelling with love for their 
country and hatred against tyranny, these thrcc-and- 
thirty men solemnly pledged their lives for each otner 
and for their fatherland. 

Raising their right hands towards heaven the three 
leaders took God and the saints to witness that their 
solemn alliance was made in the spirit — " One for all, 
and all for one." At that moment the sun shot 
his first rays across the mountain-tops, kindling in 
the hearts of these earnest men the hopes of success. 

In the meantime a very remarkable event had 
happened at the town of Altorf in Uri. Gessler had 
placed a hat on a pole in the market-place, with 
strict orders that passers-by should do it reverence, 
for he wished to test their obedience. William Tell 
scorned this piece of over-bearing tyranny, and 
proudly marched past without making obeisance to 
the hat. He was seized, and Gessler riding up, 
demanded why he had disobeyed the order. " From 
thoughtlessness," he replied, " for if I were witty my 
name were not Tell." The governor, in a fury, 
ordered Tell to shoot an apple from the head of his 
son, for Gessler knew Tell to be a most skilful archer, 
and, moreover, to have fine children. Tell's entreaties 
that some other form of punishment should be sub- 
stituted, for this were of no avail. Pierced to the 
heart the archer took two arrows, and, placing one 


in his quiver, took aim with the other, and cleft the 
apple. Foiled in his design, Gessler inquired the 
meaning of the second arrow. Tell hesitated, but on 
being assured that his life would be spared, instantly 
replied, " Had I injured my child, this second shaft 
should not have missed thy heart." " Good ! " ex- 
claimed the enraged governor, " I have promised thee 
thy life, but 1 will throw thee into a dungeon where 
neither sun nor moon shall shine on thee." Tell 
was chained, and placed in a barge, his bow and 
arrow being put at his back. As they rowed towards 
Axenstein, suddenly their arose a fearful storm, and 
the crew fearing they would be lost, suggested that 
Tell, an expert boatman, should save them. Gessler 
had him unbound, and he steered towards Axcnberg. 
where there was a natural landing-stage formed by 
a flat rock — Tellenplatte. Seizing his bow and arrows 
he flung the boat against the rock, and leapt ashore, 
leaving its occupants to their fate. Woe betide him, 
however, should the governor escape death on the 
lake ! Tell hurried on to Schwyz, and thence to the 
" hollow way " near Kusnach, through which Gessler 
must come if he returned to his castle. Hiding in 
the thicket lining the road, Tell waited, and presently 
seeing the tyrant riding past, took aim, and shot him 
through the heart. Gessler's last words were, " This 
is Teh's shaft." 

Thus runs the old story. The question naturally 
arises, What of all this is truth, and what fiction ? 
just as it will in the case of Winkelried and others. 
The question is easier to ask than to answer, at least 
in the very limited space at our disposal. The truth 


is, this question has been for half a century the 
subject of controversy always lively, often passionate 
and violent. Some authorities are for making a clean 
sweep of all traditional annals, and all semi-mythical 
national heroes. Others, no less able and conscien- 
tious, and no less learned, have re-admitted tradition 
to investigation, and have made it their special care 
to pick out the historical grain from the chaff of 
fiction. It is impossible within the limits of our 
space to discuss the merits of the numerous chroni- 
cles, and popular songs and plays, in which the 
traditions of the Tell period are preserved. Suffice 
it to say, that the "White Book of Sarnen " (1470), 
naive and artless as is its tone, is the most trust- 
worthy ; that of the" Swiss Herodotus," the patriotic 
Tschudi (1570), the most fascinating and most skilfully 
penned. The work of the latter is mainly a series of 
gleanings from the " White Book " and others, together 
with additional pictures from Tschudi's own pencil. 
He combined and supplied dates and minor details, 
and cast the whole in a mould apparently so historical 
that it became an authority for Joh.von Muller, the 
great Swiss historian of the eighteenth century. And 
the immortal Schiller deeply stirred by the grand 
epic, produced his magnificent drama, " William 

It hardly needs to be said in these days that whilst 
no one thinks of taking these beautiful old-world 
stories literally, yet few of us would care to toss them 
contemptuously and entirely on one side. Truly they 
have a meaning, if not exactly that which was once 
accepted. In the present instance they represent and 


illustrate a long epoch during which a high-spirited 
people were engaged in establishing a confederation, 
and maintaining it against a powerful enemy — one 
long effort to secure emancipation from Habsburg 
tyranny — an epoch which opened with the acquisition 
of a charter of liberties for Uri in 1231, and closed 
with the brilliant victory of Morgarten in 131 5. 

It remains now to show briefly what may be con- 
sidered the authentic history of the period, that is, 
the history as found in authentic documents. 

And first, it is clearly absurd to suppose that the 
three Forest Cantons sprang suddenly into existence 
as democracies. Feudalism had spread its net over 
the Waldstatten as elsewhere in Switzxrland and 
Europe generally. But the inborn love of freedom 
amongst the " freemen " of the three cantons was 
intensified by two things, the secluded Alpine life 
and the tyranny and aggressiveness of the Habsburgs. 
The inhabitants of the Forest were Alamanni, who, 
in the seventh century, had moved into the higher 
Alpine regions, the immigration into those regions 
being greatly promoted by a decree of Charlemagne, 
that whoever should cultivate land there with his own 
hands should be the owner thereof. But besides 
these farmer freemen, land was taken up by religious- 
houses, and by the secular grandees, who claimed the 
soil cultivated by their serfs, bondsmen, and depen- 
dants of all kinds. By the bounty of Louis the 
German, the " Gotteshausleute " ( God's-housc-peoplc , 
had become of great importance in Uri ; in 853 that 
monarch had bestowed his royal lands in Uri, with 
everything appertaining thereto, on the Abbey of our 


Lady at Zurich, an abbey founded for his daughters. 
Beneath the mild rule of these royal ladies the in- 
habitants had acquired great independence, and had 
shared with their mistress the high privilege of the 
" Rcichsfrcihcit," which saved their lands from being 
mortgaged, or from falling under the power of vassal 
princes. Besides the Lady Abbess, there were other 
proprietors in Uri — the Maison Dieu of Wcttingcn, 
the barons of Rapperswyl, and other high-born or 
noble families, and, lastly, a body of " freemen." 

This scattered and various society was knit into 
one close boundary-association by the possession of 
the " Almend," a stretch of land common to all, 
according to the old German custom— to free and 
unfree, rich and poor, noble and serf, who were brought 
together in council for deliberation. These assemblies 
gave rise to the political gatherings of the " Lands- 

Now by a decree of the Emperor Frederick II., 
Uri was severed from the jurisdiction of Zurich Abbey 
in 1 218, and placed under the control of Habsburg, 
who had succeeded to the governorship of Zurichgau, 
a district which then included the three Forest states. 
" Reichsfreiheit " was lost, and the inhabitants, fearing 
their state would fall into the hands of the Habsburgs, 
applied for protection from Henry, son of Frederick 
II., then at variance with the Habsburg family. He 
complied with their request, and on the 26th of May, 
1 23 1, granted them a charter of liberties, restored 
" Reichsfreiheit," and received them into the pale of 
the empire. Uri was now under the direct control 
of the monarch, and the local authority was vested 


iii an Ammann chosen from the native families. An 
imperial representative appeared twice a year in the 
country to hold his half-yearly sessions, and to collect 
the imperial taxes. When Rudolf of Habsburg rose 
to the imperial throne, he recognized fully the validity 
of the Uri charter. However a charter was but little 
check on the monarchical tyranny, and we find the 
country exasperated by Rudolf's grinding taxation. 

The inhabitants of Schwyz were no less bold, 
resolute, and energetic, than those of Uri, and no less 
averse to falling into the hands of the Habsburgs. 
Here the freemen predominated, and owned the 
largest portion of the country. There is not space to 
tell of their long quarrel with the monks of Einsiedein 
respecting some forest lands. Suffice it to say that, 
after a stout stand for their rights, they were ordered 
to share the corpus delicti, the forest, with their op- 
ponents. During the quarrels between Rome and the 
Hohenstaufen, Schwyz staunchly upheld the cause of 
Frederick II., but the wavering policy of Rudolf of 
the junior line, Habsburg- Laufenburg, was a strong 
temptation to separate themselves from him (1239). 
They sent letters, messengers, and most likely auxi- 
liaries, to Frederick, when he was besieging Faenza 
with the view of recovering the Lombard cities, and 
begged for the protection of the empire. Frederick 
expressed his gratification that the freemen of Schwyz 
should voluntarily place themselves under his pro- 
tection, and sent them a charter similar to that of 
Uri (i240 ; — to " his faithful men " — by which they 
obtained the " Reichsfreiheit," and an assurance that 
the)- should not be severed from the empire. 


A very few years later \vc hear of the first federal 
union of which we have any certain knowledge. The 
great quarrel between the emperor and the Pope, and 
the flight of the latter to Lyons, had set Europe on 
fire. Schwyz took up arms to defend the founder of 
its liberties, and entered into an alliance with Uri and 
Unterwalden — and even Lucerne — to throw off the 
yoke of the younger Habsburg line. War raged 
fiercely in the valleys of the Forest and by Lake 
Lucerne, till the Popish party was brought to bay, and 
the overseer driven from the Habsburg castle. We 
do not know the result of this insurrection ; it closed 
no doubt with the death of Rudolf and Frederick in 

It is to this period of the insurrection doubtless that 
the stories of Tell, the oath on the Rutli, &c, apply 
most clearly. They are reminiscences probably of 
some forgotten episodes of the campaigns. Had the 
annalists connected the stories with these times 
instead of with the reign of Albrecht, their validity 
could hardly have been contested. 

When Rudolf III. of Habsburg- Austria became 
emperor, and had bought from the younger branch o( 
his house the estates and titles in the Waldstatten, he 
drew Schwyz most closely to his family. He refused 
to confirm Frederick's charter on the plea that that 
monarch had been excommunicated. The magistrates 
were officers of his own ; he gathered the taxes in his 
own name, and, in 1278, assigned them as dowry to 
the English bride of his favourite son, Hartmann. 
Schwyz did not feel comfortable under all this, and 
stood on its guard. 


Untcnvalden, 1 the lowland district of the Forest, 
was politically quite behind the times. It was ex- 
ceedingly fertile, and was much in request, and in 
the thirteenth century was parcelled out amongst 
religious-houses, great nobles, and lesser freemen. 
The Habsburgs being not only the greatest pro- 
prietors, but also stewards of the religious-houses, 
naturally held sovereign sway. It was only by the 
aid of friendly neighbours indeed that Unterwalden 
could hold its own against such powerful masters, 
and of all its neighbours the men of Schwyz were not 
only the best organized, politically, but the most 
energetic and far-seeing. That the Schwyzers took 
the lead in the emancipation of the district is pretty 
clear from the name that was given to the newly- 
formed state by surrounding lands, and by the 
Austrians after the battle of Morgarten. 

The death of Rudolf in 1291 was good news to the 
men of the Forest, and all their pent-up hopes of the 
recovery of their ancient rights once more burst forth. 
Yet dreading new dangers from new. governors, they 
took measures of precaution. Within a fortnight of 
Rudolfs death the three districts of Uri, Schwyz, and 
Unterwalden had entered into a perpetual league of 
defensive alliance (Ezviger Bund), a renewal no doubt 
of a previous pact, probably that of 1246. They may 
have met on the Riitli to swear the solemn oath which 
was to bind them into a confederation, a perpetuite. 

1 Unterwalden is parted into two unequal halves by a .nountain 
rant^e running from the Titlis to the Stanzer Horn, with the wood "I 
Kerns lining its western side. The districts on both sides have thence 
taken the names of Ob and N'idwalden, above and below the wood. 



The various acts of agreement were drawn up in 
Latin, and the document — the Magna Charta of the 
Eidgenossenschaft — treasured up at Schwyz, is held 
in veneration by the whole Swiss nation. It bears an 
essentially conservative character, and witnesses to 
the thought and consideration given to the matter, 
no less than to the strong sense of equity and clear 
judgment of the contracting parties. Amongst other 
things it enjoins that every one shall obey and serve 
his master according to his standing ; that no judge 
shall be appointed who has bought his office with 
gold, nor unless he be a native ; that if quarrels shall 
arise between the Eidgcnosscn {inter aliquos con- 
spiratos), the more sensible shall settle the differences, 
and if the one party does not submit, the opposition 
shall decide in the matter. To the document were 
affixed the seals of the three countries as a guarantee 
of its authenticity. 




The primary object of the Perpetual League was 
to secure for the three Waldstatten that safety which 
the empire, with its fluctuating fortunes and condi- 
tion, failed to ensure. Rich and mighty cities in 
German}' and Italy had joined in alliance with 
similar intent, but whilst these alliances had come 
to nought, the simple peasants of the Forest, hardened 
by continual struggles, had developed into a power 
before which even the Habsburgs were of no avail ; 
for, gifted with striking political understanding and 
far-sightedness, these born diplomatists knew how to 
turn the tide of events to their own advantage. 

As an additional security, they entered within a 
few weeks into an alliance with Zurich and the 
Anti-Habsburg coalition that had sprung up in East 
Switzerland when Adolf of Nassau was chosen suc- 
cessor to King Rudolf in preference to his son 
Albert, whose absolutism was dreaded by all. The 


Zurich forces attacked Winterthur, a Ilabsburg town, 
but owing to the absence of reinforcements sustained 
a severe defeat (1292). Taking advantage of their 
heavy losses, Duke Albert laid siege to the imperial 
city of Zurich. Great was his dismay, however, when 
from his camp he saw a formidable force drawn up in 
battle array on the Lindenhof, an eminence within 
the city. The armour-bearers, their helmets, shields, 
and lances glittering in the sun, appeared to the 
foe to indicate an overwhelming force, and Albert 
made his peace with the remarkable city. This 
was gladly accepted, as well it might be, for it is 
said that the dazzling array seen by Albert con- 
sisted of the Amazons of the place, to wit, the 
women of the town, who had lit on this stratagem 
to save their city 

King Adolf guaranteed the " liberties " of Uri 
and Schwyz in 1297; but on his death in the 
following year, in battle against his rival, Albert 
of Habsburg, these were again at stake — for charters 
had to be submitted to the sovereign's pleasure at 
every new accession — and in fact were never acknow- 
ledged by the succeeding king. As the object of the 
Habsburgs was to join the Waldstatten to their 
Austrian possessions, their policy was naturally to 
oppose the freedom of the district. It was a fact 
highly favourable to Swiss interests that the German 
monarchy was elective ; for the princes and prince- 
electors, with their personal and selfish aims, shut out 
the mighty Habsburg dynasty, whenever candidates 
presented themselves whom they considered more 
likely to favour their views. On such grounds Adolf 


of Nassau was elected, as was also Henry of Liitzel- 
burg later on. 

Albrecht was not the cruel, taciturn, tyrant Swiss 
chroniclers and historians have pictured him. They 
have, in fact, confounded him with previous rulers, 
chiefly of the junior Habsburg line. Albrecht was 
bent on the aggrandizement of his house, but, if any- 
thing, less selfishly so than his father Rudolf III. He 
was, however, no friend of Swiss liberties, and, had 
he lived longer, would doubtless have checked any 
efforts on the part of the Swiss to gain greater free- 
dom. But he was cut off in the very prime of life, 
by his nephew and ward, John of Swabia, who 
believed himself defrauded of his heritage. With 
John were other young Swiss nobles — Von Eschen- 
bach, Von Balm, Von Wart, &c. ; and by these 
Albrecht was stabbed, within sight of his ancestral 
manor, Habsburg, as he was on a journey to meet 
his queen, Elizabeth. He sank to the ground, and 
expired in the lap of a poor woman (1308). The 
assassins got clear away, excepting Wart. A terrible 
vengeance was taken on him, and on the friends 
and connections of the fugitives, however innocent. 
A thousand victims perished, by order of the bloody 
Elizabeth. On the spot where her husband had 
fallen the queen built the Monastery of Konigsfelden 
(King's Field), a place which afterwards attained 
great fame and splendour. The stained windows 
of the church still in existence, are masterpieces of 
Swiss work, showing all the exquisite finish of the 
fourteenth century, and testifying to the former 
magnificence of the abbey. 


Once again the Habsburgs were passed over, and 
Henry VII. became King of Germany. To him 
Unterwalden owes its charter, which placed the three 
small states on an equal footing politically. How- 
ever, he died in Italy when going to receive the 
imperial crown — some thought by poison. On his 
decease the opposing parties elected two sovereigns, 
Louis of Bavaria, and Frederick the Handsome, 
of Austria, son of Albrecht. During a short inter- 
regnum, which occurred after the death of Henry 
VII., Schwyz began hostilities against the Abbey of 
Einsiedeln, of which the Habsburgs were stewards. 
This greatly vexed Frederick, and his annoyance 
was increased by finding that the Forest generally 
sided with his rival. Goaded beyond bearing, Frede- 
rick determined to deal a crushing blow against the 
rebellious Forest states, and, late in the autumn of 
13 1 5, hostile operations commenced. We are now 
in our story on the eve of the famous battle of 
Morgarten, which is justly regarded by the Swiss 
as one of the noblest of the many noble episodes 
in their stirring history. There is not a civilized 
nation in the world to which the name of Morgarten 
is not familiar. 

Both parties prepared for war. The Wald Cantons 
fortified such parts of their district as offered no 
sufficient security, and placed troops at the entrance 
to the valley. Duke Leopold, a younger brother of 
the king, a great champion, and eager for combat, 
undertook the command of the campaign, with much 
dash and self-reliance. He gathered a considerable 
army together on the shortest notice, the Aargau 


towns, with Lucerne and Winterthur, and even 
Zurich, sending troops, whilst the nobility espoused 
his cause, and rallied to his standard at Zug. In 
order to divide the forces of the enemy the leader 
ordered a section of the army, under Count Otto 
of Strassberg, to break into Untenvalden by the 
Briinig Pass. Leopold himself commanded the main 
force, and directed his principal charge against 
Schwyz, which was particularly obnoxious to him. 
Of the two roads leading from Zug to Schwyz, he 
chose — probably from ignorance — the one which was 
the more difficult, and strategically the less pro- 
mising. On the 15th of November, the day before 
the feast of St. Othmar, he brought his cavalry to 
yEgeri. and thence moved in a heedless fashion along 
the eastern bank of that lake, taking no care either 
to watch the enemy or to reconnoitre his ground 
Amongst his baggage was a cartload of ropes, with 
which he intended to fasten together the cattle he 
expected to seize. Hurried on by the nobles, and 
himself eager for the fray, he neglected even the 
most elementary measures of precaution, which, 
indeed, he deemed quite unnecessary when march- 
ing against mere peasants. His cortege resembled a 
hunting party rather than an arm)' expecting serious 
warfare. Reaching the hamlet of Haselmatt, the 
troops began' slowly to ascend the steep and frozen 
slopes of Morgarten, in the direction of Schornen. 
Soon they were hemmed in by lake and mountain, 
when, without a moment's warning, there came 
pouring down upon the dense masses of horsemen 
huge stones, pieces of rock, and trunks «>l trees. 


Dire confusion followed at once. This unexpected 
avalanche had been hurled down upon them by a 
handful of men posted on the mountain ridge, and 
well informed respecting the movement of the 
Austrian?. Presently the main body of the men 
from Schwyz and Uri appeared behind Schornen, 
and like a whirlwind rushed down the hill on the 
terrified and bewildered foe, who were caught in 
the narrow pass of Morgarten, as in a net. It was 
quite impossible to ward off such an attack as that. 
Then the Eidgenossen began to mow down the 
Austrians with their terrible weapon the halberd, 
an invention of their own. 

A confused scramble and a terrified melee ensued, 
in which it was at once seen that the foe must 
succumb, utterly disorganized as they were, and 
well-nigh helpless through terror. Many in sheer 
despair rushed into the lake. Soon lay scattered 
over the wintry field the " flower of knighthood," 
amongst them the counts of Kyburg and Toggen- 
burg, and other Swiss nobles. Leopold himself had 
a narrow escape, and hurried back to Winterthur, 
" looking," says Friar John of that place, an eye- 
witness, " like death, and quite distracted." Otto 
of Strassberg, hearing of the disaster, retreated with 
such rapidity that he died overcome by the physical 
efforts he had made. " Throughout the country the 
sounds of joy and glory were changed into wails 
of lamentation and woe." Such was the ever- 
memorable battle of Morgarten. As to the number 
of men who fell on that day, the accounts vary 
hopelessly, and we do not venture to give any 


figures. The infantry probably fled, and had no 
share in the encounter. 

Such was the first proof the young Confederation 
gave of their mettle and skill in warfare. The battle 
has been called the Swiss Thermopylae, but it was 
more fortunate in its results than that of the Greeks. 
It confirmed the national spirit of resistance to the 
house of Habsburg, and commenced a whole series 
of brilliant victories, which for two centuries in- 
creased the glory, as they improved the military 
skill of the Swiss nation. In humbleness and in a 
spirit of true devotion, the victors fell to thanking 
God on the battlefield for their rescue, and they 
instituted a day of thanksgiving to be observed as 
year after year it should come round. 

On the 9th of December in the same year (13 15) 
the Eidgenossen proceeded to Brunnen, to renew by 
oath, • and enlarge by some additional paragraphs, 
the treaty or league of 1291, and this for nearly 
five hundred years remained the fundamental code 
of agreement between the three Waldstatten. The 
Forest Cantons, having grown into three independent 
republics, claimed each separate administration or 
autonomy. The idea of a federal union thus started 
by the Forest men gradually grew in favour with 
neighbouring commonwealths struggling for inde- 
pendence ; and these, so attracted, slowly clustered 
round the Forest Cantons, to form a bulwark against 
a common foe. 




One by one the Swiss lands were reached by the 
breeze of freedom blowing from the Forest Cantons 
after the great victory of Morgarten. Yet it was 
only very gradually and in small groups that the 
other districts entered within the pale of the Eidgc- 
nossenschaft. Eight states made up the nucleus for 
some time ; indeed, till after the Burgundian wars, 
in 1 48 1, they jealously kept out all intruders. In 
fact, the confederate states locked on outsiders 
merely as " connections," or subjects, and associated 
with them on no other footing. It is a somewhat 
startling and unusual thing to find republics ruling 
over subject lands, yet in this case the result was 
to knit the whole more closely together in after 
centuries. In the fourteenth century the union was 
of the loosest kind ; alliances wavered, and politics 
were swayed by separate ends. The other common- 
wealths, in joining themselves with the Forest states, 


had no notion of giving up their individual life, but 
were wishful to create a body powerful enough to 
secure independence against the aggressions of 
Austria ; and at the price of continued struggle, 
and steady perseverance no less admirable, they 
achieved that object. 

Attracted by common interests as a near neigh- 
bour, and being moreover the mart of the Forest 
Cantons, Lucerne was the first to be drawn into 
the union. This town had acquired great indepen- 
dence under the mild rule of the famous Murbach 
Abbey. But in 1291 the convent, having got into 
financial straits, had sold the town to the Habsburgs. 
Finding but little liberty under their new rulers, the 
men of Lucerne formed in 1332 with the Forest the 
union of the four Waldstatten, 1 svith the view of 
shaking off the Austrian yoke. Lucerne was bound 
by treaty not to league herself with outsiders without 
the consent of the Forest Cantons. 

In 1 35 1 Zurich followed suit. Her clever and 
powerful burgomaster, Brun, was keenly desirous of 
raising her to greatness. He was less regardful of the 
interests of the Eidgenossen, and indeed had strong 
leanings towards Austria and the empire, as affording 
a wider scope for ambitious politics. Consequently 
he would not permit her superior position as an 
imperial free city, nor her foreign and commercial 
relations, to be injured by submission to the Forest 
control, and he carried a clause which left her free to 
join in any other alliances she choose, provided tha»t 
with the Waldstatten was not broken. He also 

1 Compare Vienvaldstcittersee, the German for Lake Lucerne. 


bound the Forest states by treaty, to secure to Zurich 
its own constitution. The documents connected with 
this alliance show that the five states formed a power 
quite ready to cope with Austria. And well for them 
that they were so ready. Louis of Bavaria, the pro- 
tector of the Forest Cantons, was dead, and his suc- 
cessor on the German throne was Charles IV., son of 
the famous blind King of Bohemia, who fell so 
bravely at Cressy. To maintain his authority Charles 
fell back on the friendship of Austria, and to win 
the favour of Albrecht (the " Wise," or " Lame"), he 
nullified all the measures which Louis had enacted 
against Austria, measures which had destroyed the 
power of that country in the Waldstatten. The 
destruction of Rapperswyl r by Zurich, and the union 
between Zurich and the other four states were re- 
garded by the Habsburgs as a challenge, and gave 
rise to a long-protracted war, marked rather by feats 
of diplomacy on the part of Austria than by feats of 
arms. Albrecht was desirous of having a reckoning 
with the Eidgenossen generally, yet for the present he 
confined his attacks to Zurich, their strongest outpost. 
The assault by sixteen thousand men in 135 1 was 
stoutly opposed, and collapsed suddenly by proffers of 
peace. Queen Agnes of Konigsfelden, the duke's 
sister, was called in as umpire, and Brun temporizing 
with Austria to save his town, a verdict was passed so 
injurious to the people of the Forest, that they refused 
the mediation of this " wondrously shrewd and quick 
woman," who had for these thirty years swayed the 
Habsburg politics, and the quarrel broke out anew. 
1 Sec Chapter xiii. 


The Zurcher now assumed the offensive, and de- 
feated the Austrians at Tatvvil, being led by Roger 
Manesse, the grandson of the amateur poet. They 
then marched on Glarus. and conquered that valley 
in November, 1351. Clarona, like Lucerne, had 
drifted from beneath the spiritual rule, and had fallen 
under that of the Habsburgs, much to her dislike. 
An old chronicler reports that " the Glarner were 
well disposed towards the Eidgenossen," and it is not 
difficult to believe that they consented willingly to be 
conquered, for in the spring of the next year they 
utterly defeated the Austrian forces under Count 
Stadion, who had returned with the intention of 
recovering the country if possible. The union of the 
Glarner with the Confederates was fixed by a treat)', 
on June 4, 1352, but, curious to relate, they were 
received as inferiors or proteges (Schutzort; and not 
as equals. The Confederates no doubt reasoned that 
the acquisition of the valley, with its open villages, 
offered no adequate advantages for the extra risks to 
which it exposed them. 

Zug was the next to be brought into the union. 
The very situation of Zug, surrounded as it was by 
the federal territory, rendered it quite necessary that 
that state should be brought into the fold of the 
Eidgenossen. The country districts surrendered at 
the approach of the federal forces, but the town of 
Zug offered a stout resistance. However, the towns- 
men heard nothing from Albrecht, much less received 
any help from him, and yielded on June 27, 1352. 
Thanks to the greater security she offered, Zug was 
admitted as a full member. 


In July, 1352. Albrecht renewed his attack on 
Zurich, with an army double the one first brought 
against her, Bern, Basel, Strasburg, Solothurn, and 
Constance, being bound by treaty, sending troops. 
But this second venture likewise miscarried, after 
stout opposition and much wasteful ravaging. This 
plan of storming an imperial city was unpopular 
amongst the neighbouring towns, and Eberhard " the 
Quarrelsome," who held the chief command in the 
place of the lame duke, displeased with the secret ne- 
gotiations, left the camp, and the army was dissolved. 
Again the Austrians resorted to diplomatic machina- 
tions, and recovered by the pen what they had failed 
to keep by the sword. The treaty, or rather truce, of 
Brandenburg, so called from its author, reinstated the 
Habsburger in their Forest possessions. Glarus and 
Zug were compelled to give up their union with the 
Eidgenossen, and to return to the Habsburg ruie. 
Nevertheless, though complying outwardly, the states 
still maintained their friendly liaisons. ' And the 
league of the five states remained intact, and was 
indeed strengthened by the alliance of Bern with 
the Waldstatten. with which she had been more 
closely connected ever since the great battle of 
Laupen, where the Forest men had proved such 
staunch and useful friends. The treaty is dated 
March 6, 1353. 

Albrecht was dissatisfied with the results of the 
last truce, and renewed the hostilities in the spring of 
1353. Prevailing on Charles IV. to intervene that 
monarch twice visited Zurich, and held interviews 
with her representatives, and those of the Wadstat- 


ten. Yet it was evident his purpose was to give 
every advantage to Austria. The citizens trusting 
that his mediation would be just, received him with 
" imposing pomp and great honours." But their high 
hopes were soon dashed. Influenced by the Austrian 
counsellors about him, Charles strongly upheld the old 
Habsburg claims, and on his second visit even denied 
the validity of the ancient charters of the Forest, and 
requested the Eidgenosscn to dissolve their union. 
Naturally^ the Confederates were unwilling to throw 
away the results of a century's hard struggling, and, 
insisting on their unchangeable and undeniable rights, 
they simply answered that his " views were incompre- 
hensible to them." Charles at once returned to 
Niirnberg, and thence sent to Zurich his declaration of 

Albrecht, who had bought and rebuilt Rapperswyl, 
assembled there his forces, and laid waste the borders 
of the lake. The king fixed his camp at Regensberg ; 
and thence the two pushed forward and formed a junc- 
tion at Kiisnacht. Their united forces, estimated at 
fifty thousand, formed the most formidable and mag- 
nificent army seen that century. Ravaging the lovely 
vineyard slopes, laments a contemporary annalist, 
they marched on Zurich, and, in spite of the sallies of 
the Zurcher to avert such a fate, completely encircled 
the town. Entirely cut off from all supplies, the in- 
habitants had no hope of holding out for any length 
of time, especially against a foe ten times more 
numerous. But at the most critical moment the 
place was saved by a stratagem. For suddenly the 
imperial banner was seen floating over the citadel. 


The burgesses (or their leader Brun) had hoisted it 
up as a declaration that they were the subjects of the 
Holy Roman Empire, and meant no disobedience to 
the king. The incident made a deep impression on 
the enemy, and Charles at once suspended the siege. 
Thus for the third time foiled Albrecht retired in high 
dudgeon to Baden, and thence began to indulge in 
mere petty warfare. As for the king, he betook himself 
to Prague, there to enrich the Domkirche with the 
numerous relics and antiquities he had delightedly 
amassed during his stay in Swiss lands. This king 
was the founder of Bohemia's greatness, and of the 
splendour of its capital. 

On his return from Italy as Roman emperor he 
concluded a peace at Regensburg, in July, 1355, and 
the war came to an end. The result, as in the case 
of the previous war, had been injurious to the interests 
of the Confederation. Glarus and Zug remained 
excluded from the League, and the Habsburgs 
retained their lands in the Forest. The only thing 
left was the union of the six states. Zurich had borne 
the burden of the war for the last four years, and, 
unless she wished to forfeit her very existence, was 
compelled to have peace at any price. And as she 
was completely exhausted, and yet was made the 
surety for the Waldstatten, the Eidgenossen sub- 
mitted to the harsh conditions imposed. 

In 1358 Albrecht died, and was succeeded by his 
enterprising son, Rudolf IV. This ruler made it his 
special object to extend his power on the Upper 
Zurich lake. Rapperswyl was fortified and enlarged, 
and the famous wooden bridge across the lake was 



built — not for pilgrims wandering to Einsicdcln, as 
common report had it, but — to connect the territories 
he had conquered, or was expecting to conquer. 
Besides, he wished to cut off Zurich from the direct 
route to, and trade with, Italy, and from the Forest. 
But in 1360 died the all-powerful Brun, who had ever 
sympathised with Austria ; and, in 1 364, the old Queen 
Agnes (the widowed queen of Hungary), who had 
resided for twenty years at Konigsfelden. Rudolf 
likewise died about the same time, and with their 
decease the Austrian spell was broken, and the hold 
of the Habsburgs on Zurich for a while loosened. 
Charles, now unfriendly towards Austria, tried to win 
favour with the Eidgenossen. He heaped privileges 
on Zurich, and sanctioned the league of the six 
states. Zurich refused to renew the treaty of Regens- 
burg by oath, and as persistently declined to punish 
the people of Schwyz for breaking it. A fresh out- 
break of war seemed imminent, but was averted by 
the peace of Torberg, 1368, which established a better 
agreement between Austria and the Confederation. 
By this treaty Zugwas permitted to be re-annexed to 
the league. Zug had been conquered by Schwyz in 
1365, at a moment when the attention of Austria 
was withdrawn. Glarus did not return to the Con- 
federation until it had, so to speak, qualified itself for 
re-admission, by gaining the most remarkable victory 
of Naefels, the story of which will be told later on. 




We may perhaps do well to pause here awhile 
before proceeding to show how the various Swiss 
cantons were gathered into the fold of the Eidge- 
nossenschaft — a long process, as a matter of fact — and 
devote a short chapter to a glance at an aristocratic 
city whose polity and development contrast with 
those of the Forest lands. Zurich presents a fair 
example of a city whose origin dates back to a 
remote age, and whose transition from the condition 
of a feudal territory into the position of an indepen- 
dent commonwealth can be clearly followed. That 
Turicum is a word of Celtic origin, and that the place 
was one of the lake settlements in prehistoric times, 
and a Roman toll-station later on, has been already 

The chief founders of this Alamannic, or Swabian, 
settlement, however, were the Carolinger. Louis the 
German had raises the Grand Abbey and Church of 


our Lady (Fraumunstcrabtei) in 853, to provide his 
saintly daughters, Hildcgarde and Bertha, with 
positions and incomes equal to their rank. His 
ancestors, Pepin the Short and Charlemagne, had 
founded or enlarged the minster, with its vast 
establishment of prebends, and the Carolinum, or 
clerical colleges. Both institutions were richly en- 
dowed with land, and granted many prerogatives, 
especially the immunity, most precious of all, viz., 
the severance from the county or local administration 
of Zurich. They thus came again under the imme- 
diate control of the empire, and there were developed, 
two distinct centres of. feudal life. Yet a third 
nucleus was formed by the dependants of royalty, 
the fiscal i)ii, and followers of the monarch and of 
the Swabian dukes. These were grouped around the 
imperial palace (Pfalz) on the Lindenhof, a fortified 
stronghold on the site of the Roman castrum, and 
a favourite residence of the German sovereigns, who 
were attracted thither by the natural beauty of the 
place. The houses of the Alamannic free peasantry 
were scattered over the slopes of Zurichberg, and 
reached down to the Limmat river. Gradually these 
four distinct settlements approached each other, and 
in the tenth century the inner core at the mouth of 
the lovely lake was girt with strong walls with towers, 
and the tout ensemble now looked like a picturesque 
mediaeval city with its suburbs. The rights of high 
jurisdiction over the whole were exercised by a 
royal governor, or representative of the sovereign. 
This was the so-called Reichsvogtei, or advocacia 


The noble counts of Lcnzburg were imperial 
governors from about 970 to 1098, but when the 
Zaerings became the governors of the Swiss lands 
the Lenzburgs became their holders till their death. 
Then the ReicJisvogtei, that is, the city and its vicinity, 
fell back into the hands of the Zaerings, and was 
held by them directly till the extinction of the 
dynasty, 12 18. From that time the charge was 
entrusted to the city-board, as Vdgte. In Zurich 
the Lady Abbess acknowledged as her superior none 
but the governing Zaeringen duke, and later on, that 
is, after the dynasty had come to an end, took the 
foremost position. Indeed Frederick the Hohen- 
staufer created her Reichsfurstin, Princess Abbess, 
and thus the office became one of very special 
dignity, and was bestowed generally on ladies of 
noble birth. By the acquisition of territory — reach- 
ing into Alsacia and to the St. Gothard — by privileges 
acquired under successive monarchs. by monopolies 
(coinage, fees, and tolls on markets and fairs, &c), 
the institution rose to an eminence and splendour 
truly royal. Dukes and counts visited the abbey 
to pay court to its illustrious abbess — die HoJie Fran 
von Zurich, as she was styled — and entrusted their 
daughters to her care. Yet it was for court life these 
high-born damsels were to be prepared rather than 
for the religious vows. The inner life of this great 
monastery, though highly interesting "in itself, cannot 
be entered in a short sketch like the present. Not only 
was the Abbess Lady Paramount over her clergy and 
vast abbatial household, with its staff of officers and 
its law-court, but she also bore sway over the city itself. 


When the administration began to require increased 
attention she enlarged its council, and presided at 
its meetings. This curious state of things continued 
till the thirteenth century, which saw the rise of 
a general political emancipation in German cities. 
Though apparently under a thraldom, yet the citizens 
really grew beneath the mild and equitable female 
rule into a powerful and thriving body, and at length 
began to contest with their mistress for self-rule. 

To Frederick II. they owed their emancipation. 
By him Zurich became a free imperial city, governed 
by its own council. Council and citizens gradually 
becoming alive to their own civic interests, step by 
step wrested the civil power from the hands of the 
Lady Abbess, and emerged into the condition of an 
independent commonwealth. By this time society 
within the city had arranged itself into three distinct 
classes, (i) The clergy, headed by the abbess and 
the provost. (2) The knights, owing military service 
to emperor and abbess, and the burghers, or chiefly 
free landowners, and important commercial men. 
This second order was the governing class, and out 
■>f it came the members of the council. (3) The 
craftsmen, who exercised their trades only with the 
permission of their masters, the governing class. 
The workers were excluded from all share in the 
government, and were even prohibited from forming 
guilds. The majority of the artisans and serfs lived 
without the gates, in the outer city or walled-in 
suburbs. These political inequalities at length met 
with violent opposition, and in 1336 there broke out 
a revolution. 


The industry of the thrifty and energetic population 
increased the material wealth of the city, and com- 
mercial treaties were entered into with neighbouring 
countries, with Italy particularly, and Italian influence 
made itself felt ever since the twelfth century, through 
four hundred years, not only in trade, but also in archi- 
tecture. Zurich became an emporium for silk, and 
the silk manufacture, introduced from Italy, became 
a speciality, and was found in no other German town. 1 
The activity displayed in building churches and 
monasteries was simply astonishing. The present 
minster, in the Lombard style, on the type of San 
Michele at Pavia, was built in the twelfth century, 
and the abbey was restored by the noble ladies 
in the thirteenth. The frequent visits of kings 
and emperors, who held their di~ts here, naturally 
increased the importance of the city. Taking it 
altogether, Zurich must have been, even in the 
thirteenth century, a fine specimen of a mediaeval 
town, for Barbarossa's biographer, Otto von Freysing, 
calls it the noblest city of Swabia (" Turegum nobilis- 
simum Sueviae oppidum "). 2 Her policy of entering 
into alliances with the Swabian and Rhenish towns, 
and with the vast South- German coalition, and the 
friendly political and commercial relations she main- 
tained, show that she fully grasped the situation, and 

1 White silk veils in the guise of bonnets were exported to Vienna, 
and even as fai as Poland. This silk-making, of course, increased the 
prosperity of the town. It declined, and was reintroduced in the 
sixteenth century in a far more advanced condition, by the persecuted 
I'rotestants from Locarno. 

lie also reports that one of its gates bore the inscription, " Nobik 
Turegum multarum copia reru/11." 


gave her that security which promoted her trade and 
industry, and allowed her to develop freely. 

The thirteenth century spread enlightenment 
amongst the benighted people of the Middle Ages, 
and increased the growth of political freedom in the 
cities, thanks to the struggles between the Papacy 
and the Hohenstaufen. Zurich had early emanci- 
pated herself from the spiritual sway and influence 
of her abbess mistress. Already, in 1146, the people 
had listened with keen interest to the advanced 
religious teaching of Arnold of Brescia, and in the 
ensuing quarrels sided with the freethinking Frederick 
,11. During the interdict of 1247-49 Frederick's 
staunch adherents boldly drove from the town those 
clergy who refused to perform their spiritual func- 
tions. On a second expulsion from the town the 
friars took sides with the citizens, and obeyed the 
order literally, for they went out by one gate of the 
town, and re-entered by another, and resumed their 
offices. That the Zurcher had grown strong and 
self-reliant is shown by their alliance with Rudolf 
of Habsburg, in the feuds against their common foes, 
the neighbouring nobles, whose raids they checked, 
and by openly resisting the heavy taxation imposed 
by the monarch on the city. On one occasion — 
it was at a drinking-bout — the chief magistrate 
denounced this oppressive policy most wrathfully 
in the very presence of the queen and her daughters. 

The Staufen epoch, seething with social and 
political movements, was also full of the spirit of 
romanticism. The English and French met the 
Germans in the Crusades, and quickened in the 


Fatherland the love of poetry and romance. Then 
the great religious wars themselves opened out a 
whole new world of thought and fancy. The glori- 
fication of the brilliant exploits of the Staufen 
sovereigns, themselves poets, inspired many a grand 
or lovely song, the highest flights producing the 
Nibelungen and the Minnelieder. In Swiss lands 
also minstrelsy flowed richly, and Zurich stands 
out as a " Poets' Corner " in the thirteenth century. 
At the hospitable manor of Roger Manesse, a famous 
knight and magistrate of the city, or at the great 
Abbey Hall, a brilliant company of singers clustered 
round the Princess Abbess Elizabeth, an eminent 
woman, and her relatives, the Prince Bishop of 
Constance, Henry of Klingenberg, and his brother 
Albrecht, the famous chevalier. Then the Prince 
Abbots of Einsiedeln, and the abbots of Petershauscn 
(Constance), the counts of Toggenburg, the barons 
of Regensberg, of Eschenbach, and Von Wart, 
together with many other lords, spiritual and tem- 
poral, and many a fair and illustrious lady — all these 
thronged the courtly circle to listen to the recital 
of the Minnelieder, or perchance to produce their 
own. The famous Codex Manesse, lately at Paris, 
and now in Germany, 1 bears witness to the roman- 
tic character of the age. It contains the songs of 
some hundred and fifty German and Swiss minstrels, 
who sang between the years 1200 and 1 350. Manesse 
and his son, a canon at the minster, undertook the 
collection out of pure enthusiasm. Their amanuensis 

1 It happened to be in the possession of the Elector of the Palatinate, 
and was carried off to France when Louis XIV. laid waste the province, 


was a comely young fellow named Hadloub, the son 
of a freeman farmer from the Zurichberg. A pretty 
story is told how during his mechanical labour of 
copying there grew strong in him the love of poetry, 
and he became himself a poet. For he fell in love 
with a high-born lady at Manesse's court, who however 
noticed him not. Then he told his grief in love songs 
which Manesse added to his collection. Indeed these 
songs close the series of Swiss poems in the Codex 
Manesse. Gottfried Keller, of Zurich, one of the 
greatest German novelists of the nineteenth century, 
treated of the period in his exquisite novel " Had- 
loub " (Ziircher Novelleri). Space does not permit 
us to give any account of the story, and the reader 
must be referred to the fascinating tale as it stands 
Hadloub was indeed the last Swiss minstrel belonging 
to that fertile age. The love and beauty of woman 
is the theme of his songs, and in depicting these he 
particularly excels — the real Minnegesang. Uhland, 
the great lyric poet says of him, " In the clear soul 
of this poet the parting minstrelsy has once more 
reflected its own lovely image." 

But whilst poetry was rejoicing the hearts of the 
nobles, political clouds were fast gathering over the 
city, to break at length into a wild hurricane. As 
a matter of fact, a few distinguished families had 
established an oligarchy in the place of the city 
council in process of time. The craftsmen, excluded 
from any share in the administration, and moreover 
finding fault with the financial management of the 
state, and galled by the domineering conduct of the 
aristocracy, rose in fierce opposition. Rudolf Brun, 


an ambitious ruler, but a clever statesman, being at 
variance with his own patrician party, suddenly placed 
himself at the head of the malcontents. Overthrow- 
ing the government before it had time to bestir itself, 
Rudolf had himself elected burgomaster, an official in 
whom all power was to centre. In 1336 he presented 
a new constitution, making the whole assembly swear 
to it. To insure its validity this code {Gesclnvorne 
Brief) was submitted to the sanction of the abbess 
and the provost, and was also approved by the 
emperor. This new constitution was quite in keeping 
with the political views of the age, and remained in 
its chief points the leading constitutional guide of the 
commonwealth down to the revolution of 1798. It 
was a curious blending of democratic with aristocratic 
and monarchical elements. The craftsmen, who up 
to the present had counted for nothing in politics, 
were now formed into thirteen corporations, each 
selecting its own guildmaster, who represented its 
members in the governing council. The nobility and 
the wealthy burghers who practised no profession, or 
the Geschlechter (patricians), and rentiers formed a 
highly aristocratic body known as the Constafel 
(Constables), and were likewise represented in the 
state council by thirteen members, six of whom Brun 
named himself. The position of the burgomaster was 
the most striking of all, and was, in fact, that of 
a Roman dictator of old, or resembling the Italian 
tyrannies of the Visconti or Medici. Elected for life, 
vested with absolute power, the burgomaster was 
responsible to none, whilst to him fealty was to be 
sworn by all on pain of losing the rights of citizenship. 


The idol of the people to whom he had granted 
political power, Brun was regarded as the true pilot 
and saviour in stormy times. The fallen councillors 
brooded revenge, and being banished the town, 
resorted to Rapperswyl, the Zurich extra witros, and 
at the other end of the lake. There they made chose 
commune with Count John of that place, who was 
desirous of evading payment of the debts he had 
contracted in Zurich. Feuds and encounters followed, 
and John was slain in battle in 1337. The emperor 
tried to restore peace, but the exiled councillors were 
bent on bringing back the old state of things, and on 
regaining their seats. They plotted against Brim's 
life, and those of his associates, and fixed upon the 
23rd of February, 1350, for making an attack by 
night on the city, with the intention of seizing it by 
a single coup-de-main. They relied on the help of 
sympathisers within the town. The burgomaster, 
being apprized of the plot, summoned his faithful 
burghers to arms by the ringing of the tocsin. A 
bloody hand-to-hand fight in the streets took place, 
thence called the Zurcher Mordnacht. The conspiracy 
was crushed by the majority, and Count John of 
Rapperswyl, son of the above-mentioned count, was 
thrown into the tower of Wellenberg, a famous state 
prison. There he passed his time in the composition 
of Minnelieder. 

Brun made a bad use of his victory. His cruelties 
to the prisoners and to Rapperswyl, which he burnt, 
are unjustifiable, and seem inexplicable in so far- 
sighted a statesman. He was ambitious, and desired 
not only his own advancement, but also that <of his 


native city. He had depended on Austria, hoping to 
rise through her alliance and aid, but, suddenly for- 
getting all moderation, and disregarding all traditional 
liaisoiis with her, he laid waste the territory of the 
counts of Rapperswyl, cousins to the Habsburgs. 
This of course entangled Zurich in a war with 
Austria, who threatened to level her with the ground. 
Having estranged the neighbouring states by her 
cruel proceedings, or rather by those of Brun, 
Zurich stood alone, and was compelled to look around 
for aid and countenance. Though by no means 
friendly towards the bold Forest men, the dictator 
Brun concluded an alliance with them. The Wald- 
statten were quite ready to receive into their league 
a commonwealth so powerful and well-organized as 
Zurich, a state likely to be at once their bulwark and 
their emporium. They therefore willingly agreed to 
Brun's stipulations (May 1, 135 1), and, further ac- 
quiesced in the proviso that Zurich should be allowed 
to conclude separate treaties. These treaties or 
alliances were very common at that time, and 
changeable as they were, they nevertheless gave 
additional security for the time being. 

But though Brun had introduced a regime of force, 
he yet made concessions to the masses, giving them 
a share of political power. And his constitutional 
system answered the wants of the city, to a great 
degree, for some four centuries and a half. 


LAUPEN, 1339. 

The alliance of Bern was a great acquisition to the 
federal league. She formed the corner-stone of the 
Burgundian states, and brought them into connection 
with, and finally into the pale of, the Swiss Con- 
federation. Her early history has been touched upon 
in previous chapters. True to her original position 
as a check on the nobility, and forming a natural 
stronghold, this proud Zaeringen town shows a singu- 
larly martial, and indeed dominant spirit, and runs 
a military and political career of importance. Bern 
had effectively resisted the encroachments of the old 
house of Kyburg (1243-55), and stoutly opposed the 
oppressive tax of 40 per cent, imposed by Rudolf 
of Habsburg. And, though she had suffered a severe 
defeat at Schosshalde, in 1289, the disaster was more 
than compensated by a great victory at Dornbuhl, in 
1298; she had carried over her rivals, Freiburg and 
the nobles of the highlands, partners of the latter. It 
was always a most usual thing in the fourteenth 


century for states to enter into leagues, with the view 
of better safeguarding themselves against neighbouring 
and powerful foes. And thus Bern gathered all the 
kindred elements of West Switzerland into a Bur- 
gundian Confederation — the free imperial valley Hasle, 
the rich monastery of Interlaken, the house of Savoy, 
the new house of Kyburg-Burgdorf, the bishops of 
Sion, the cities of Bienne, Solothurn, Freiburg, — all 
these were at one time or another in union with Bern. 
The friendship with Freiburg, however, was often 
disturbed by feelings of jealousy that at times grew 
into feuds, but that for Solothurn was lasting. It was, 
in fact, based on similarity of political views and aims, 
both agreeing in refusing to acknowledge the rival 
kings, Louis of Bavaria and Frederick the Handsome. 
In consequence of their obstinacy, Leopold, who had 
been defeated at Morgarten, and wished to reassert 
the authority of his brother, laid siege to Solothurn in 
1 3 18. The Bernese came to the help of the sister 
city. A memorable scene was witnessed during the 
course of the assault. The river Aare was much 
swollen at the time, and a bridge that the beleaguering 
forces had thrown across was carried away by the 
flood, and their men were being drowned in numbers. 
Then the Solothurncr, forgetting all injuries, rushed 
out with boats to save their enemies. Leopold was 
so touched by such magnanimity that he at once 
raised the siege, and presented the town with a 
beautiful banner. 

Bern's strong bent for territorial extension was 
quite a match for the encroaching tendencies of the 
Habsburrrs. To cret a footing in the canton the latter 


made use of a crime committed amongst the Ky- 
burger. That illustrious house, well-nigh ruined 
morally and financially, had been compelled by its 
adverse fortunes to place in the Church a younger 
son, Eberhard. The young man submitted with 
great reluctance. Happening to quarrel with his 
brother Hartmann, at the castle of Thun, high words 
arose and were succeeded by blows, and Hartmann 
was slain. This was in 1322. On the plea of 
avenging the murder, the Habsburgs set up a claim 
to the Kyburg property. Bern however confirmed 
the count in his possessions, and purchasing Thun 
from him, returned it. as a fief, requiring him to give 
an undertaking that Burgdorf should never be mort- 
gaged without her knowledge and consent. But 
Eberhard gradually forgot the services Bern had 
rendered his house, and, fearing her power, veered 
round to Freiburg, and became a citizen of that town. 
The differences then swelled into an outbreak, which 
had been for sometime impending. Bern, it is to be 
noted, had in' many ways got the start of the sister 
city ; for instance, she had become an imperial free 
city in the year 12 18, on the extinction of the Zae- 
ringer, and this had given her a considerable lift. 
Then, in 1324, Bern had secured the mortgage of 
Laupcn, an excellent stronghold on the Saanc, and 
had driven the Freiburger from the district. And in 
1 33 1, after the house of Kyburg had joined its 
fortunes with those of Freiburg, the strong fortress of 
Giimmincn had been demolished, as well as many 
Kyburg castles. Giimmincn belonged to her rival, 
and was a place of singular strategical importance. 



But these were mere preliminary episodes, and 
more serious warfare followed. Many of the sur- 
rounding nobles had outlived their time of prosperity 
and greatness, and yet clung to the prerogatives of 
their class without possessing any longer the means 
to maintain them. Bern took advantage of all this 
to secure her own aggrandisement, and gain for her- 
self more territory, for originally she had possessed 
no lands beyond her walls. The Bernese Oberland 
was the first district on which she set her eyes. 
Here the counts of Greyerz, the dynasts of Turn 
(Valisian nobles), and the barons of Weissenburg, 
held the chief territorial lordships, and formed a 
strong Alpine coalition with Austrian sympathies, 
as against the rising city of Bern. With the last 
mentioned Bern strove for the supremacy, and 
stormed their stronghold, Wimmis, in the Simmen- 
thal, both town and castle, and demolished the 
Letsinen* or fortifications in the valley. The old 
baron and his nephew had no means to fight out 
the quarrel, and were compelled to accept the terms 
dictated by the victors. They were bound to render 
military service, and were required to pledge their 
castles for their submission, and so forth. But what 
most nearly touched them was the loss of Hasle. 
That beautiful valley, stretching from Bricnz lake 
to the Grimsel pass, with romantic Meynngen as its 
central place, has had a strange history. The in- 
habitants were at first free Alamannic farmers, owing 
allegiance to no sovereign, or lord, except the German 

1 Letzinen are walls constructed across a valley, and are peculiar to 


monarch, and they chose their Ammann from amongst 
themselves, or had him chosen by the king. They 
had allied themselves as equals with Bern, in 1275, 
but in 1 3 10 their subjection was sealed. Henry VII. 
wanting money for his coronation at Rome, mort- 
gaged Hasle to the barons of Weissenburg, for 340 
marks. In 1 334 Bern bought up the mortgage, and 
the valley thus came under Bernese rule. Bern 
now appeared likely enough to stretch her power 
even up to the snow-clad mountain lands, and 
laid the foundation of her future pre-eminence 
amongst the western cantons. But she stirred up 
fierce opposition, especially on the part of the Bur- 
gundian nobles. Fearing for their very existence, 
the counts of Greyerz, Valangin, Aarberg, Nidau, 
Neuchatel, Vaud, Kyburg, headed by Freiburg, en- 
couraged, though not actually assisted, by Louis of 
Bavaria, rose in arms. Bern called for help from 
Hasle, YVeissenbu"g, and the Forest Cantons, but 
found it a difficult matter to get together the scattered 
forces. On the 10th of June, 1339, an army of 
fifteen thousand foot and three thousand horse 
marched against Laupen, whose defence devolved 
upon some four hundred Bernese. On the 21st of 
the same month there arrived at the town the 
forces of the Eidgenosscn, amounting to barely six 
thousand men. They wore a white cross of cloth,' 
and marched to the relief of the beleaguered city 
animated by the stirring words of Theobald, a priest 
of the Teutonic order. The battle actually took 
place, however, on a plateau a little more than two 
1 Which became later on the federal coat of anus. 


miles east of the town. During- the day the be- 
siegers had amused themselves with various sports, 
mocking the preparations of their opponents, and 
it was not till vespers that Count Valangin com- 
menced hostilities. It was a desperate struggle that 
followed — a second Morgarten. The Waldstattcr 
had begged to be allowed to engage the cavalry, 
and a hard task they found it. Yet within two hours 
the enemy was completely routed, and took to flight 
No fewer than fifteen hundred men lay dead upon 
the field, and amongst them the counts of Valangin, 
Greyerz, Nidau, the last count of Vaud, and others. 
Seventy full suits of armour, and twenty-seven 
banners had been taken. Their hearts overflowing 
with joy and thankfulness the victors sank on their 
knees at nightfall, when all was over, and thanked 
God for His mercy. It would be uninteresting to 
a foreign reader to give an account of the discussions 
which have taken place as to the leadership of the 
Bernese force. But it may be mentioned that two 
distinguished generals, Rudolf von Erlach and Hans 
von Bubenberg, have by different authorities been 
credited with the honour. 

The war was not yet concluded, but degenerated 
into one of simple devastation. The Freiburg forces 
were defeated at the very gates of their town by 
Rudolf von Erlach, according to some records, 
which shows sufficiently that he is no mere fic- 
titious personage. Bern added victory to victory, 
and the saying ran that, "God Himself had turned 
citizen of that town to fight for her just cause." In 
July, 1340, a truce was agreed upon, and Bern 


resumed her old alliances with Kyburg, the Forest, 
Vaud, and even Geneva. The diplomatic Lady of 
Konigsfeldcn, Agnes, anxious to secure so staunch 
an ally, drew Bern into a league with Austria, which 
lasted for ten years, and strongly influenced the 
politics of the town. It was not till after the expira- 
tion of this league, and after the peace of Branden- 
burg, that she could enter into an alliance with the 
league of the seven states. This closed the list of 
the eight Orte, and the league proved to be perpetual. 
Though Bern was a great check on the feudal nobility, 
she yet herself possessed a thoroughly aristrocratic 
form of government, in which the lesser people and 
craftsmen had no share whatever. 

The mad schemes of Rudolf of Kyburg, who hoped 
to mend his fortunes by conquering Solothurn and 
other towns, gave rise to protracted warfare, in which 
Burgdorf and Thun fell to the share of Bern, by 
purchase, in 1384. To dwell on this is impossible, 
within the limits of our space, but it may be men- 
tioned that a first siege proved a failure. Retaliation 
was made by the siege of Burgdorf, which likewise 
miscarried, through the intervention of Leopold. The 
doom of the house of Kyburg was, however, scaled, 
and it fell beneath the sway of Bern. The treachery 
of the Habsburgs in breaking their promise to the 
Eidgenossen was one of the chief causes leading to 
the battle of Sempach, the most famous of all Swiss 



SELDOM, if ever, has Switzerland seen a more 
eventful month than that of July, 1386, for in that 
month she fought and won the ever-memorable 
battle of Sempach. To set down all the petty 
details as to the causes which led to this engage- 
ment would be tedious indeed. It is sufficient to 
point out — what is but a truism — that there is 
seldom much love lost between oppressor and op- 
pressed, and Austria and the Swiss Confederation 
had for some time held that relation to each other. 
A ten years' peace had indeed been concluded 
between the two powers, but it was a sham peace, 
and the interval had been used by both to prepare 
for new conflicts. 

Austria was secretly assisting the impoverished 
house of Kyburg in her ravishing expeditions against 
the towns of the Confederation. Ruthlessness was 
met by ruthlessness ; Zurich laid siege to Rappers- 
wyl with the intent to destroy the odious Austrian 


toll-house ; Lucerne levelled with the ground the 
Austrian fort Rothcnburg, and entered into alliances 
with Entlebuch and Sempach to overthrow the 
Austrian supremacy. This was equal to a declara- 
tion of war, and war was indeed imminent. 

Duke Leopold III., of Austria, was most anxious 
to bring the quarrel to an issue, and to chastise the 
insolent Swiss citizens and peasantry. The Swiss 
cities had joined in league with the Southern German 
towns, which like themselves professed the policy of 
resisting the encroaching tendencies of princes and 
nobles. Mutual help in case of need had been pledged 
amongst themselves by this league of cities, but the 
burghers of the German towns were mere puppets 
in the hand of Austria. She, dreading the rising of 
wealthy towns, cajoled them by fine promises, and 
they pleaded for submission, and sought to compose 
the differences between the Swiss and the Austrians. 
Of very different mettle, however, were the towns 
on this side the Rhine ; they objected to the weak 
and wavering policy of their more northerly neigh- 
bours, and determined on fighting, if necessary, alone 
and unaided. 

Leopold III., a descendant of that Leopold so 
disastrously defeated at Morgarten, possessed most 
of the virtues held of account in his day. He was 
manly, chivalrous, dauntless ; he was possessed of 
dexterity and adroitness in both sports and the 
more serious business of war. His indomitable 
spirit and personal daring knew no bounds. He 
had once, clad in full armour, forded the Rhine at 
flood-time, and in the sight of the enemy, to escape 


being made prisoner. Like Rudolf of Habsburg he 
was vastly ambitious, and bent on securing wealth 
and greatness for the house of Austria. A clever 
manager of his estates and a generous master, he 
was yet neither politician nor tactician ; as a man 
of action, and filled with hatred of the refractory 
towns, he spared no pains to check their struggles 
for independence. No wonder then that the nobles 
of Southern Germany rallied round the gallant 
swordsman, and made him their leader in the ex- 
peditions against the bourgeoisie and peasantry. And 
no sooner had the truce expired (June, 1386), than 
they directed their first attack on the bold Con- 
federation ; no fewer than one hundred and fifty 
nobles sending letters of challenge or defiance to 
the summons to war sent out by the Swiss Govern- 

Leopold's plan was to make Lucerne the centre 
of his military operations, but in order to draw away 
attention from his real object, he sent a division of 
five thousand men to Zurich to simulate an attack on 
that town. Whilst the unsuspecting Confederates lay 
idle within the walls of Zurich, he gathered reinforce- 
ments from Burgundy, Swabia, and the Austro- 
Helvetian Cantons, the total force being variously 
estimated at from twelve thousand to twenty-four 
thousand men. He marched his army in the direc- 
tion of Lucerne, but by a round-about way, and 
seized upon Willisau, which he set on fire, intending 
to punish Sempach en passant for her desertion. But 
the Confederates getting knowledge of his stratagem 
left Zurich to defend herself, and struck straight 


across the country in pursuit of the enemy. Climb- 
ing the heights of Scmpach on the side of Hiltis- 
rieden, overlooking the town and lake of that name, 
they encamped at Mcyersholz, a wood fringing the 
hilltop. The Austrians leaving Sursce, for want of 
some more practicable road towards Sempach, made 
their way slowly and painfully along the path which 
leads from Sursee to the heights, and then turns 
suddenly down upon Sempach. Great was their 
surprise and consternation when at the junction of 
the Sursee and Hiltisrieden roads they came suddenly 
upon the Swiss force, which they had imagined to 
be idling away the time at Zurich. The steep hill- 
sides crossed by brooks and hedges looked a battle- 
field impracticable enough for cavalry evolutions, yet 
the young nobles in high glee at the prospect of win- 
ning their spurs in such a spot pleaded for the place 
against the better reason of all men. 

The Swiss, confident of success, and trusting in the 
help of God and the saints, as of old, drew up in 
battle order, their force taking a kind of wedge- 
shaped mass / the shorter edge foremost, 

and the bravest men occupying the front positions. 
The Austrians, on the other hand, relying proudly 
on the superiority of their high-born knights and 
nobles, looked disdainfully on what they believed to 
be a mere rabble of herdsmen. And, in truth, 
the handful of fifteen hundred men, inadequately 
armed with short weapons or clubs, battle-axes or 
halberds, seemed but a sorry match for that steel-clad 
armv of six thousand well-trained lancers, cavalry, 


and foot. But the possession of cavalry in such a 
spot could not in itself give any advantage to the 
Austrians, and their knights dismounted and handed 
their horses to the care of attendants. To avoid 
getting their feet entangled in the long grass of a 
meadow close by the noble cavaliers cut off the beaks 
or points of their shoes — then the fashion — and the 
spot is to this day called the " beak-meadow " 
(Schnabelweide). Claiming for themselves the right 
to win honour that day, they ordered their infantry to 
the rear. According to another account, however, 
their infantry were still at Sursee, the noble horsemen 
declining their aid. After ancient custom, the 
Austrians formed themselves into a compact phalanx, 
the noblest occupying the front ranks, the prepara- 
tions being necessarily hurriedly and somewhat 
indefinitely made. 

The onset was furious, and the Austrian Hotspurs, 
each eager to outstrip his fellows in the race for 
honour, rushed on the Swiss, drove them back a 
little, and then tried to encompass them and crush 
them in their midst. The Swiss quickly fell back, 
but some sixty of their men were cut down before 
the Austrians lost a single soldier. The banner of 
Lucerne was captured ; the Austrian phalanx was 
as yet unbroken, and all the fortune of the battle 
seemed against the Swiss, for their short weapons 
could not reach a foe guarded by long lances. But 
suddenly the scene changed. " A good and pious 
man," says the old chronicler, deeply mortified by 
the misfortune of his country, stepped forward from 
the ranks of the Swiss — Arnold von Winkelried ! 


Shouting to his comrades in arms, " I will cut a road 
for you ; take care of my wife and children ! " he 
dashed on the enemy, and, catching hold of as many 
spears as his arms could encompass, he bore them to 
the ground with the whole weight of his body. His 
comrades rushed over his corpse, burst through the 
gap made in the Austrian ranks, and began a fierce 
hand-to-hand encounter. Fearful havoc was made 
by the Swiss clubs and battle-axes in the wavering 
ranks of the panic-stricken enemy, whose heavy 
armour and long lances indeed greatly impeded their 
movements. Nevertheless the Austrians made a 
brave stand, and Leopold, who had been watching 
the issue, now rushed into the mclce, and fell one of 
the bravest in the desperate struggle. The nobles 
and knights, calling for their horses, found that the 
attendants had fled with them. Seeing that all was 
lost, the knights became panic-stricken, and rushed 
hither and thither in the greatest disorder. There 
still remained the infantry, however, and these 
attempted to stay the flight of the hapless cavaliers, 
and restore order, but it was all in vain. A fearful 
carnage followed, in which no mercy was shown, and 
there fell of the common soldiers two thousand men, 
and no fewer than seven hundred of the nobility. 
The Swiss lost but one hundred and twenty men. 
Rich spoils — arms, jewellery, and eighteen banners — 
fell into the hands of the victors. 

This defeat of a brilliant army of horse and foot, 
of knights and noblemen, all well-trained, by a mere 
handful of irregulars — citizen and peasant soldiers — 
was a brilliant military achievement, and attracted 


the attention and admiration of the civilized world. 
It brought to the front the bourgeoisie and peasantry 
and their interests, and struck terror into the hearts 
of their oppressors. This great victory gained by 
the Swiss not only widened and established more 
firmly the career of military glory commenced at 
Morgarten, but it gave to the Confederation in- 
dependence, and far greater military and political 
eminence. What Plataea had been of old to the 
Greeks, that Sempach was to the Swiss ; it struck a 
deadly blow against an ancient and relentless foe. 
Austria, her rule on this side of the Rhine thus 
rudely shaken, was compelled to waive all rights of 
supremacy over the Confederation. Not that she 
relinquished those rights readily ; it needed an equal 
disaster to her forces at Naefels, in 1388, before she 
would really and avowedly renounce her pretensions 
to rule the Swiss. 

The story of Winkelried's heroic action has given 
rise to much fruitless but interesting discussion. The 
truth of the tale, in fact, can neither be confirmed 
nor denied, in the absence of any sufficient proof. 
But Winkelried is no myth, whatever may be the case 
with the other great Swiss hero, Tell. There is proof 
that a family of the name of Winkelried lived at 
Unterwalden at the time of the battle. But no Swiss 
annals referring to the encounter at Sempach were 
written till nearly a century later. The Austrian 
chronicle gives no account of Winkelried's exploit, 
and for good reason, say the Swiss : all the nun of 
the Austrian front ranks, who alone could have 
witnessed the exploit, were killed, and the rear ranks 




fled at the very first signs of disaster in front of them. 
A fifteenth-century chronicle of Zurich, and the 
numerous songs and annals of the sixteenth century, 
are full of praise of Winkelried and his deeds. But 
whatever may be the real truth of the matter it is 
certain that the grand old story of Winkelried and 
his splendid self-sacrifice is indelibly written on 
grateful Swiss hearts. Whether it was a single man 
or a whole body of men that offered up life itself for 
their country, it clearly proves a dauntless spirit of 
independence, a hatred of wrong and tyranny to 
have been innate in the breasts of the old Switzers, 
and to have led to the deliverance of their country 
from foreign oppression. And in spite of the many 
and often bitter controversies of the past twenty 
years the memory of Winkelried will ever remain an 
inspiration and a rallying-point whenever the little 
fatherland and its liberties are threatened. 

The victor}- of Naefels forms a worthy pendant to 
that of Sempach, and as such cannot be passed over 
in silence. The Austrians, having recovered their 
spirits after the terrible disaster, and the " foul peace " 
(faule Frkde) hastily arranged having expired, they 
carried the game to its conclusion. Despite all pro- 
hibitions, Glarus had kept up its friendship with the 
Eidgenossen, and in conjunction with them had, in 
1386, captured Wescn, the key to the district. To 
Glarus, therefore, Albrecht III. now gave his whole 
attention. But Glarus itself, feeling much more free 
after Sempach, assembled its inhabitants, in the 
spring of 1387, for the first time as a Landsgemeinde, 
and drew up for itself a constitution. Wescn on 


Walensee was recaptured by the Austrians on their 
way to Glcrus. This happened through the treachery 
of the inhabitants of the town, who, siding with their 
old masters, opened their gates. The federal garrison 
was surprised as they slept, and put to the sword 
(February, 1388). The Austrians assembled at 
Wesen a force of six thousand horse and foot, and 
on the 9th of April set out in two divisions. Count 
Hans von Werdenberg, the chief mover in the enter- 
prise, climbed the opposite heights, with the intention 
of forming a junction at Mollis, whilst Count Donat 
von Toggenburg and other nobles led the main force 
along the river Linth. Reaching NaefeLs, at the 
entrance of the Glarus valley they found their 
passage barred by an Alpine fortification — a Letsi, 
as it is called — consisting of rampart and ditch. 
This, however, was stormed without difficult}-, as the 
guard was insufficient for its defence. In truth, the 
Glarncr were unaware of the Austrian movements, 
and though Ambuhl and his two hundred men fought 
with the utmost bravery, they were no match for the 
far superior numbers against them. Like a torrent 
the Austrians rushed into the open arid defenceless 
valley, and, fancying no doubt there was no further 
opposition or danger to fear, dispersed in all direc- 
tions, pillaging property, firing houses, driving cattle. 
Plunder and destruction seemed indeed to be now 
their sole aim ; but meanwhile the tocsin was sound- 
ing through the valley to call the villagers to arms 
in defence of their country. Fast they flocked to the 
standard of Ambuhl, who had posted himself with 
his troops on the steep declivity of Rautiberg, waving 


high the banner of St. Fridolin to attract his friends. 
Here, six hundred men all told, including a handful 
of men from Schwyz, awaited the foe. At last, in 
straggling and disorderly fashion, the Austrians 
appeared in sight, many lingering behind for the sake 
of plunder. Their attempt to ascend the eminence 
occupied by the foe was met by a shower of stones, 
which threw the horses into confusion. With true 
Alpine agility the mountaineers now dashed down 
the slopes and fell on the cavalry. A fierce en- 
counter followed, and then a terrible chase, during 
which the Austrians are said to have ten times 
stopped in their flight and attempted to hurl back 
their Swiss pursuers, but ten times were compelled to 
give way again before the terrible strokes which met 
them. Darkness set in, and with it came on fog, and 
a sudden fall of snow. A superstitious panic seized 
on the Austrians, and they fled in the utmost con- 
fusion to Naefels, and thence sought to regain their 
faithful Wesen. But here a fresh catastrophe awaited 
them. Thronging the bridge spanning the outlet of 
the lake their weight broke down the structure, and 
hundreds of fugitives dragged down by their heavy 
armour sank with it, and were drowned. Count 
Werdenberg, who was watching the disaster from his 
eminence, fled as fast as he could. This disaster 
explains the loss by the Austrians of so dispro- 
portionate a number of men, viz., seventeen 
hundred, as against the fifty-four who fell of the 
Glarus force. The latter fell chiefly in defence of 
the Letzi. 

Year after year the people of Glarus, rich and poor 


alike, Protestant and Catholic, still commemorate this 
great victory. On the first Thursday in April, in 
solemn procession, they revisit the battlefield, and on 
the spot the Landammann tells the fine old story of 
their deliverance from foreign rule, whilst priest and 
minister offer thanksgiving. The 5th of April, 1888, was 
a memorable date in the annals of the canton, being the 
five-hundredth anniversary of the day on which the 
people achieved freedom. From all parts of Switzer- 
land people flocked to Naefels to participate in the 
patriotic and religious ceremonies. A right stirring 
scene it was when the Landammann presented to the 
vast assembly the banner of St. Fridolin — the same 
which Ambuhl had raised high — and thousands of 
voices joined in the national anthem, Rufst du mein 
Vaterland, which, by the way, has the same melody as 
God save the Queen. If the Svvitzer has no monarch 
to love and revere, he has still his national heroes and 
his glorious ancestors, who sealed the freedom of their 
country with their blood. 

In 1389 a seven years' peace was arranged, and 
Glarus returned to the Confederation. This peace 
was first prolon ged for twenty years, and afterwards, 
in 141 2, for fifty years. Finally, after a strife of more 
than one hundred years, Austria renounced her claims 
to rule over the Forest, and all her rights in Zug, 
Lucerne, and Glarus. In process of time the various 
dues were paid off in ordinary form. 




In the fourteenth century the Eidgenossen estab- 
lished a menage politique of their own, and fixed its 
independence ; in the fifteenth they raised it to power 
and eminence, and obtained for it an important 
military position in Europe. Yet though their family 
hearth was established, all was not done. The allied 
states could not stop there. They were still surrounded 
by lands ruled by Austria, by Italy, by Savoy ; lands 
which could and did threaten the independence of the 
little infant republic. In fact, at a very early stage, 
the acquisition of additional territory became a vital 
question. This was to be done by means of new 
alliances, or by purchase or conquest. Zurich, for 
instance, had already, between 1358 and 1408, spent 
some two million francs in the buying of land. The 
struggles for independence had kindled a like desire 
for emancipation amongst the neighbouring Alpine 


states. But the efforts resulting were not all equally 
successful. Some of the states drifted from monar- 
chical subjection to that of the federation or canton 
as subject lands {Unterthanen laender) ; others became 
" connections " {Zugewandte), or allies of inferior rank ; 
others, again, took the position of Schirmverwandte, 
or proteges. One might indeed go thus through a 
whole graduated scale of relationships developed 
amongst the crowd of candidates seeking admission 
into the league. And though as yet kept outside 
they received a helping hand from the Eidgenossen. 
But it is not till the opening of the nineteenth century 
that we find the list of twenty-two cantons made up. 
Thanks to the mediation of Napoleon Bonaparte 
(1803), St. Gall, Thurgau, Grisons, Aargau, Vaud,and 
Ticino were added to the confederation of states. 
And by the Congress of Vienna, in 18 14-15, were also 
added Valais, Geneva, and Neuchatel. The latter, 
however, still continued under the sway of Prussia, 
although partly a free state, till 1857. The reader 
will clearly see into what a complicated fabric of 
unions the league is growing, and that the Swiss 
fatherland did not spring at once into life as a fait 
accompli. Each canton had its separate birth to 
freedom, as was the case with the free states of ancient 
Greece, which joined into confederations for a similar 
end — protection against a common foe. Each little 
state has its own separate history, even before it 
amalgamates with the general league. We shall, 
however, notice only the leading features. 

Appcnzell opens the series of Zugewandte, or " con- 
nections." The sheph^'is and peasants scattered 


around the foot of Mount Santis, oppressed by th 
abbots of St. Gall, began a rising that partook of l 
revolutionary character. A succession of heroic feats 
followed — the battle of Vbgelinseck in 1403, that o" 
Am Stoss in 1405, and others 1 — and the prelate and 
his ally, Frederick IV. of Austria (" Empty Pocket"), 
were completely defeated. Somewhat curiously we 
find Graf Rudolf von Werdenberg throwing in his lot 
with that of the humble peasants, and stooping to the 
humiliating terms they insisted upon. He had been 
robbed of his lands by the Habsburgs, and hoped to 
recover them by the help of the Alpestrians, and 
actually did so. But the peasantry were somewhat 
diffident concerning him, and would not entrust him 
with command. So the noble knight of St. George 
put aside his fine armour and his magnificent horse, 
and donned the peasant's garb to be admitted into 
their ranks. Elated by their succession of triumphs 
the hardy Appenzeller rushed on to new victories. 
Bursting their bounds, like an impetuous mountain 
torrent, they spread into neighbouring lands, and even 
penetrated to the distant Tyrol. Serf and bondsman 
hailed them as deliverers, and whole towns and valleys 
along the Upper Rhine and the Inn came into alliance 
with them — Bund ob dem See, above Lake Constance 
— that was to be a safeguard in the East. At last the 
Swabian knighthood plucked up courage enough to 
oppose this mountain hurricane. At the siege of 
Bregenz in 1407, they were, through carelessness, put 

r It is related that Uli Rotacfa kept at bay with his halbert twelve 

Austrians, giving way only when the hut against which he leant was set 
on fire. 


to flight. The Bund collapsed, and its prestige 
departed, but the men had secured their object, viz., 
independence from control by the Abbey of St. Gall. 
By and by they bought off some of the taxes, and 
they met at their Landsgemeinde to consult respecting 
the weal of their country. Down to our own days 
this institution remains famous. Their application in 
141 1 for admission into the league was granted, but 
quite conditionally. Bern kept aloof from them, and 
Zurich found it necessary to checkmate their revolu- 
tionary tendencies, and they were received as Zuge- 
tvandte, or allies of second rank. It was not till 15 13 
that the new-comer rose to the position of full member 
of the league. St. Gall, too, became "a connection" 
— and no more — in 1454. 

The emancipation of the Valais (Wallis) is but one 
succession of feuds between the native nobility and 
Savoy, the owner of Low Valais, on the one hand, 
and the bishops of Sion and the people, on the other. 
In was, in fact, a contest between the Romance and the 
German populations, the latter of whom the French 
had driven into a corner. The dynasts Von Turn had 
Bishop Tavelli seized in his castle and hurled from its 
very windows down a precipice. This foul murder 
was avenged in the great battle of Visp, where Savoy 
is said to have left four thousand dead (1388). The 
barons of Raron sustained a defeat at Ulrichen, in 
1414, though assisted by Bern (of which town they 
were citizens) and Savoy. These powerful nobles left 
the country, and the Valisians gradually secured 
autonomy, and, being helped in their quarrels by the 
Forest men, they finally drew nearer to the Confedera- 
tion, as Zugewandte (1416). 


We must not pass over a singular custom which 
prevailed amongst the Valais folk. It was a custom 
observed as a preliminary to serious warfare. If 
a tyrant was to fall, he was attainted and doomed 
by the Mazze. This was a huge club on which 
was carved a distressed-looking face as a symbol 
of oppression, the club being wound round with 
bramble. It was carried from village to village, and 
hamlet to hamlet, even to the remotest spots, and set 
up at public places to attract the attention of the 
people. One of the malcontents would then step 
forward and denounce the oppressor to the figure, and 
promise help. It was said that when the name 
of Raron was pronounced the figure bowed deeply 
in token of assent, and the insurgents drove nails 
into the face as a declaration of hostility, and the 
instrument was deposited at the gate of the baron's 

Graublinden (Grisons), the land of ancient and 
mediaeval memories, of crumbling and picturesque 
castles, was, on account of its rugged surface and its 
almost countless dales, split up into numberless terri- 
torial lordships. Here in this rocky seclusion held 
sway the Belmonts, the Montforts, the Aspcrmonts, 
the Sax-Misox, and many others whose sonorous 
names tell of their origin. Here also were found the 
families of Haldenstein, Wcrdcnberg, Toggcnburg, 
and many more — Italian, Romansch, and German 
mingling closely. Yet the lord-paramount of them 
all \v;i' the Bishop of Chur, who had attained the 
rank of ReicJisfiirst or duke, who had a suite of 
nobles attached to his quasi-royal household, and 


who held lands even in Italy. Quite contrary to the 
usual rule, noble and peasant in general lived 
amicably together. The political freedom of the 
state was due rather to remarkable coalitions than to 
acts of war or insurrection. In the fourteenth cen- 
tury, when the bishops of Chur revealed a strong 
leaning towards Austria- Tyrol, the Gotteshausbund 
sprang into existence as a check on the alien ten- 
dencies of the prince-bishops. This league was 
formed in 1367 by the Domstift (chapter of clergy), 
the nobles, and the common people. The bishop/. 
themselves ruled over people of three different 
nationalities. A glance at the place-names on the 
map of Biinden shows how the old Latin race 
(Romansch), the Italians, and the migrated German 
race, were mixed up pell-mell in the district. Yet 
the Walchen Romansch (Welsh) were slowly retreat- 
ing before the Valscr, or Germans of the Valais, who 
had a strong bent for colonization and culture. In 
1395 the Grcaie Bund (Grey League) was started in 
the valleys of the Vorder-Rhine by the Abbot of 
Disentis, some of the nobles, and the people at large. 
On the death of the last of the Toggenburgs in 1436 
his various domains of Malans, Davos, Prattigau, &c, 
dreading Austrian interference, united into a league 
known as the ten Gerichte Bund (Jurisdictions), so 
called because each of the districts had its own separ- 
ate jurisdiction. Gradually the three leagues formed 
a federal union (about 1450), and held their diets at 
one centre, Vazerol. Thus Biinden, developing after 
the manner of the Forest Cantons, grew into a triple 
and yet federal democracy, which, threatened by the 

sigismund's council. 185 

Austrian invasion during the Swabian wars, turned to 
the Eidgenossen for help, and joined with them in 
1497 as " connections." 

In 1414 met the famous Council convoked by the 
Emperor Sigismund to remedy the evils which galled 
the Church, that Council which by a strange irony of 
fate sentenced to death by fire John Huss, the staunch 
opponent of the very abuses which the Council was 
called to redress. The Council proved fatal to the 
Habsburg interests in Swiss lands. Frederick IV. 
of Austria — the enemy of Appenzell — refused his 
homage to the German monarch, and for material 
reasons espoused the cause of John XXIII., one of 
the three deposed popes. John gave a tournament 
to cover his departure, and during the spectacle fled 
in a shabby postillion's dress to the Austrian town, 
Schaffhausen, whither Frederick followed. Excom- 
municated and outlawed — within a few days no fewer 
than four hundred nobles sent challenges to him — 
Duke Friedel, as he was familiarly called by his 
faithful Tyrolese peasantry, who alone stood by him, 
was driven from his lands and from his people. On 
all sides German contingents fell upon his provinces. 
Sigismund called on the Eidgenossen in the name 
of the empire to march on Aargau, his ancestral land, 
promising them the province for themselves. As 
they had just renewed their peace with Austria, the 
Eidgenossen were unwilling to break it, but it was 
urged by the emperor that their promise to Frederick 
was not binding. Bern, ever bent on self-aggrandise- 
ment, and determined to secure the lion's share if 
possible, threw away her scruples, and within seven- 


teen days took as many towns and castles. 1 Zurich, 
consulting with the Eidgenossen, followed suit and 
seized Knonau. Lucerne took some fragment, and 
the Forest did likewise. Aargau, the retreat of the 
Habsburg nobles, offered no serious resistance ; but 
Baden, which was seized by the Eidgenossen con- 
jointly, the castle of Stein, the royal residence of the 
Habsburgs, was being stormed, when Sigismund tried 
to stop the siege ; for Frederick in despair had in the 
meantime made an abject submission, and most of 
the confiscated lands were restored to him. How- 
ever, the Fidgcnossen were unwilling, because of the 
emperor's wavering policy, to relinquish so good a 
chance of adding to their territory. Matters were 
settled by their paying over a sum of money to 
Sigismund, who was ever in financial straits. Hence- 
forth Friedel was nicknamed " With -the- empty - 
pocket." 2 Aargau was divided amongst the Eidge- 
nossen as subject land, what they had seized sepa- 
rately becoming cantonal, and what conjointly federal, 
property. Baden and some other places became 
federal domains (gemei)ie Herrschaften), over which 
each of the eight states in turn set a governor for 
two years. With this precedent we enter upon the 
curious period in which the Swiss cantons split into 
two sets, the governing and the governed. 

Whilst the republics vied with each other in ex- 

1 To Bern fell the classic spots Habsburg and Konigsfelden. 

2 As a retort to those who thus nicknamed him this extravagant 
prince built a balcony at Innsbruck whose roof was covered with gold, 
at the cost of thirty thousand florins — it would be twenty times more 
money now. Every visitor to that romantic city will be struck by the 
quaint Hans zum goldenen Dacherl (House with the golden roof). 


tending their borders, two, Uri and Untervvalden, 
were unable to increase their territory, being hemmed 
in by lofty mountains. They turned their eyes 
towards the sunny south, beyond St. Gothard, where 
they might find additional lands. Like the Rhastians 
of old they had often descended into the Lombard 
plains, though for far more peaceful ends. When the 
St. Gothard pass was thrown open in the thirteenth 
century, there was a lively interchange of traffic 
between the two peoples — the cismontanes and the 
transmontanes. The men of the Forest sold their 
cheese, butter, cattle, and other Alpine produce at the 
marts in the Lombardian towns, and got from thence 
their supply of corn and other necessaries. And they 
of the Forest acted as guides across the mountains, as 
they did down to the railway era. Their youths, too, 
enlisted amongst the Italians soldiers, induced either 
by the prospect of gaining a living, or by a mere 
desire for amusement. Thus the Swiss associated 
on friendly terms with the southerners. But all this 
pleasant social intercourse was suddenly cut off. 
Whilst the Eidgenossen under the aegis of a weakened 
empire secured independence, the mighty Lombard 
cities, which had objected to imperial fetters, how- 
ever light, by a singular contrast sank beneath the 
tyrannies of ambitious native dynasts, and under the 
Visconti the duchy of Milan sprang up from these 
free Italian towns. Quarrels that broke out between 
the Milanese and the people of the Forest prepared 
the way for the acquisition of Ticino by the Swiss. 
In 1403 Uri and Unterwalden were robbed of their 
herds of cattle ajt the mart of Varese by the officials 


of the Visconti, on what pretext is not clear. Failing 
to get redress, they at once decided on resorting to 
force. They seized the Livinenthal or Levcntina, 
which willingly accepted the new masters. Fresh 
robberies in 1410 were revenged by the annexation 
of the Eschenthal, with Domo d'Ossola, which greatly 
preferred Swiss supremacy to that of the Duke of 
Milan. This is not much to be wondered at, seeing 
that Gi«an Maria Visconti was a second Nero for 
cruelty. The human beings who fell victims to his 
suspicion or revenge he had torn to pieces by huge 
dogs, which were fed on human blood. To strengthen 
their Italian acquisitions the Eidgcnosscn bought 
Bellinzona ( 1 4 1 8 ) from the barons of Sax-Misox or 
Misocco of Graublinden. But the Milanese dukes 
would not brook the loss of these lands, and a long- 
protracted war ensued with varying success. Most 
of the more distant cantons being opposed to these 
Italian conquests declined to send help, but hearing 
that Bellinzona had been captured by the Visconti, 
some three thousand Eidgenossen marched to its 
relief in 1422. They were, however, no match for 
the twenty-four thousand troops gathered by the 
famous general Carmagnola. Lying in ambush for 
the Swiss he succeeded in completely shutting them 
in at Arbedo, with the exception of six hundred who 
had escaped into the valley of Misox. For six hours 
the small Swiss band fought to the utmost, refusing 
to give way, though opposed by a force of ten times 
their number, and well trained. Suddenly their 
brethren came to their relief, or they would have been 
crushed. The Swiss loss was two hundred, that of 



the enemy nine hundred. But the conquests were 
forfeited for the present. Yet the Swiss pushed on to 
new war to redeem their misfortunes under the 
Sforza. A brilliant victory was that of Giornico 
(Leventina), 1478, where six hundred Swiss under 
Theiling from Lucerne defeated a force cf fifteen 
thousand Milanese soldiers. This tended greatly to 
spread Swiss military fame in Italy. 





A GLOOMY picture in Swiss history do these civil 
wars present, marking as they do the chasm sepa- 
rating the Confederates, who were each swayed by a 
spirit of jealous antagonism. Yet it was clear that 
the town and the country commonwealths — citizens 
and peasants — formed such strong contrasts that 
they would not always pull together. Indeed, the 
smouldering discontent was suddenly fanned into 
flame by questions respecting hereditary succession 
that threatened to consume the whole Confederation. 
Feudalism was tottering to its fall in Switzerland, 
but it seemed as if the famous counts of Toggenburg 
were for a while to stay its ruin in the eastern portion 
of the country. Frederick VII. (1400-1436) possessed 
what would come up to the present canton of St. 
Gall, the Ten Gerichte, a large portion of Grau- 
blindcn, Voralberg (which he had wrenched from 
Friedel " of the Empty Pocket "), and other districts. 
Despite the popular struggles for freedom he managed 


to maintain his authority by adroit and designing 
policy and by alliance with Zurich and Schwyz, 
which stood by him against foes domestic and foreign. 
Having no children Frederick promised that on his 
death the two cantons should receive his domains 
south of Zurich lake, which acquisition would round 
off their territory. He died in 1436, but left no will 
— intentionally, as was thought by some, with the 
view of entangling the Confederates in quarrels — 
" tying their tails together," as the expressive but not 
very polished phrase had it. Be that as it may, the 
apple of discord was soon in the midst, and there set 
up as claimants numerous seigneurs of Graubiinden, 
barons from the Valais, near relatives, as well as 
Austria and the empire. Zurich and Schwyz also 
contended for the promised stretch of land. To 
penetrate into the maze of petty conflicts which 
followed would be ridiculous as it would be im- 
possible. In accordance with her more aristocratic 
inclinations Zurich paid court to the dowager countess 
whilst Schwyz humoured rather the subjects as the 
future masters, and the three latter proved in the end 
to have had the better judgment. The strife, indeed, 
fell into one of emulation between the two most 
energetic and talented statesmen of the two common- 
wealths. One of these leading men was burgomaster 
Stiissi, of Zurich, and the other was Ital von Reding, 
from Schwyz, both highly gifted and energetic men. 
Even from their youth they had been rivals, incited 
by the Emperor Sigismund whose favour they 

Save the battle of St. Jacques on the Birse, the 


war brought forth no great military exploits, and as 
it effected no material changes it may be very briefly 
passed over. It splits naturally into three periods. 
The first of these (1436-1442) is simply a series of 
wasteful feuds waged by the Confederates alone. 
Schwyz had taken for itself the whole heritage in 
question, with the exception of one fragmentary 
portion left to its rival. Zurich, thus deprived of her 
portion, and disappointed in her scheme of planning 
a direct commercial road to Italy through Grau- 
bunden, retaliated by shutting her market against 
Schwyz and Glarus, causing a famine in the two 
districts. The Confederates did not act with im- 
partiality in the matter, but, laying all blame on 
Zurich, drove her to arms. She was, however, again 
a loser, for her territory to the east of the lake, which 
was the theatre of war, was terribly wasted. This 
portion of the land Schwyz wished to annex, but 
was prevented by order of the federal Diet. Never- 
theless Zurich lost to Schwyz and Glarus three 
villages on the upper lake, and the island Ufenau 
which she had governed for half a century, and she 
was compelled to re-open her roads and market. 

Deeply wounded by the position of the Confederates 
in the opposition ranks, and still more by the humilia- 
tion inflicted on her by the rustics of Schwyz, the 
proud, free city of Zurich thirsted for revenge. Thus 
the second period of conflict began, and in June, 
1442, Zurich sought a foreign alliance. Stiissi, or his 
secretary, who was his right hand, taking advantage 
of her old leanings towards Austria, conceived the 
Machiavelian plan of joining in union with the 


deadly foe of the Confederates. Despite the firm 
opposition of a strong party of noble and eminent 
patriots, the coalition was arranged. The plea was 
put forward that the " imperial city," by virtue of her 
exceptional position, and the treaty concluded under 
the auspices of Brun, in 135 1, was allowed to make 
any alliances she chose. Disloyalty was thus coloured 
by a show of truth. The Emperor Frederick III. 
and his brother, Albrecht of Austria, proceeded to 
Zurich to receive the homage and allegiance of the 
enthusiastic population. The Confederates guessing 
the meaning of this move tried to convince the 
renegade member of her perfidy. But their efforts 
failing, all, Bern included — though she took no pro- 
minent or active part, being chiefly occupied by her 
Burgundian politics — sent their challenge to Austria 
and Zurich. The war, though fiercer and bloodier 
than the first, was just as luckless, owing to dissensions 
arising amongst the allies, the men of Zurich being 
unwilling to submit to a many-headed Austrian 
lordship. The struggle was carried on by fits and 
starts, the Confederates returning home on one 
occasion for the annual haymaking. Having laid 
waste the Zurich territory the Confederates proceeded 
to attack the capital itself. During a sally to St. 
Jacques on the Sihl, Stiissi fell in defence of the bridge 
over that river, whilst endeavouring to keep back the 
foe and stay the flight of the fugitives. His heroic 
death makes one almost forget his ambitious and 
misguided policy. At last the Zurich forces drew up 
their guns on the Lindcnhof, an eminence within the 
town. A single ball worked wonders, for, piercing 



the walls of a barn, it upset the table at which were 
sitting a party of Glarncr, and carried ofif the head of 
the topmost man at the table. Greatly impressed by 
this result the besiegers rushed from the premises, 
stopped the siege, and began negotiations for a truce. 
But the Austrians objected to the truce, fearing a 
reconciliation between Zurich and the Confederates, 
and they incited the mob to make a set against the 
patriotic councillors who were believed to be the 
prune movers in the peace negotiations. A state of 
terrorism set in, five of the leading men were 
demanded by the populace, and were publicly be- 
headed ; and ten more suffered the same fate. Thus 
powerless had Zurich grown in the hands of Austria. 
The truce being thus prevented the Kidgenossen 
proceeded to besiege Greifensee, a strong fortress in 
the Zurich midlands. For four weeks the garrison 
of eighty men held out, but, being at last betrayed by 
a peasant, were compelled to surrender at discretion. 
Sentence of death was passed on the brave defenders 
by a majority of the Confederates, and the cruel 
sentence was carried out in a meadow at hand. Ital 
von Reding stood by to see that the imperial custom 
Df passing over every tenth man should not be 
followed in this case. However when sixty had fallen 
he turned away, and the rest were spared. Strange 
stories attach to that bloody spot, and indeed Nemesis 
soon avenged the cruel deed. A second siege of the 
capital was undertaken by the Confederates, but 
proved a failure like the first. The men of Zurich, 
in fact, made light of the siege, and a band of young 
men even sallied forth and captured wine and other 


Wishful to bring matters to an issue, Austria turned 
to France for assistance, well knowing that she herself 
was no match for the Eidgenossen in open field. She 
was, besides, tired of the profitless and resultless kind 
of war which had hitherto been carried on. Charles 
VII. was anxious to get rid of his mercenary troops, 
the savage Armagnacs, which he had led against 
England, and was glad to launch them on Swiss 
lands. This combination of Austrian and French 
arms — the Zurcher remained at home to defend their 
still beleaguered city — introduces the third and last 
portion of the war. The Dauphin (Louis XL), with 
an army of thirty thousand men, marched against 
Basel, and the Eidgenossen, unacquainted with the 
numbers of the enemy, set out to meet them. When 
they came within sight of the foe, they crossed the 
river Birse in the most exuberant spirits. Soon, 
however, they were split into two divisions by the 
heavy fire of the French, and one of these being 
surrounded on an island in the river was completely 
annihilated by the overwhelming numbers, though 
fighting with marvellous bravery. The other division 
took up a position behind the garden walls of the 
infirmary of St. Jacques, on the river (August 26, 
1444). Here for six hours a small body of some five 
or six hundred men held their ground. Twice they 
withstood the assault of a foe twenty or thirty times 
their number, and twice themselves rushed on in 
attack. But at last the walls gave way, pierced 
through and through, and the foe rushed through 
the breach. A hand-to-hand fight followed, till the 
hospital being fired the Swiss were compelled to 


succumb. Yet, though failing, each man died a hero. 
Some drew arrows from their wounds, and hurled them 
at the enemy ; others who had lost one hand swung 
their halberts with the other. The Armagnacs, who 
had fought in many a bloody battle, confessed that 
never before had they met with a foe so dauntless, so 
regardless of death. The Austrians, however, denied 
the Swiss such testimony. On the same day after 
the battle a German knight was riding over the field 
wading in blood, and boasted to his comrades, " To- 
day we seem to be bathing in roses." " There, eat 
thy roses !" yelled a dying Uri soldier, flinging at his 
head a large stone which struck him dead from his 
horse. Louis, who had lost some four thousand men 
in the fight, was greatly impressed by such show of 
bravery on the part of the Swiss, and concluded an 
honourable peace with them at Ensisheim, on the 
28th of October, 1444. St. Jacques is a second Swiss 
Thermopylae, and sheds immortal honour on the 
combatants. Though beaten the Confederates were 
not dishonoured. Like the brave Spartans under 
Leonidas they preferred death to servitude and 
dishonour. This battle was also the turning-point of 
the federal war ; it rendered the Confederates more 
pliant. And though desultory feuds still showed 
themselves, peace was at last concluded, in 1450, by 
which Zurich was forced to give up her Austrian 
alliance. The federal league was knit more closely 
together than ever before ; old injuries were soon 
forgotten, and the Eidgenosscn accepted an invitation 
to Zurich to join in the carnival festivities got up to 
celebrate the reconciliation, 1454. A deplorable 


incident took place during the festivities, the seizure 
by the Eidgenossen, at the minster, of the famous 
savant, Felix Malleolus, a canon of the Church. Born 
of an ancient family at Zurich, he was educated first 
at the Carolinum in his native city, and afterwards at 
the university of Bologna, which was the glory of the 
Middle Ages. Bold, and of an unbending will, early 
acquainted with the corruptions of the Church and 
clergy, he hurled bitter invectives against the guilty, 
and raised for himself a host of enemies amongst the 
priesthood. And during the early years of the war 


he had likewise attacked the Eidgenossen as enemies 
of his native town, and called them an illiterate, 
uncouth, and belligerent race. His own chapter had 
objected to so stern a man as provost, and he had 
consequently contented himself with the position of 
canon, a position which left him ample time for study, 
and the composition of learned pamphlets. When 
the Eidgenossen seized him he was bending over his 
beloved books. He was hurried to Constance, and 
was there, by the bishop, thrown into the same prison 
as that occupied by the martyr Huss. The higher 


clergy as a rule connived at the deed, and, though 
promised release, he was handed over a prisoner to 
the monks at Lucerne. Here the lofty words of 
Cellano, " Dies irae, dies ilia" so well known from 
their use in Mozart's Requiem Mass, seem to have 
been a great consolation to the unfortunate canon. 
It is not known exactly when he died. 


(1474- 1 477.) 

THESE wars raised to its height the military glory of 
the Eidgenossen, and instead of the limited sphere 
occupied by most of the previous wars, we find our- 
selves now watching a scene of world-wide interest 
and importance. Three Great Powers — France, 
Germany, and Austria — if such a term is applicable 
in the fifteenth century, are striving for the downfall 
of a fourth great realm, Burgundy, in some respects 
the mightiest of them all. The Swiss League, no 
less interested in the issue, is made the instrument for 
bringing about that tragical ending which strikes Bur- 
gundy for ever from the list of future kingdoms. 

Charles the Bold aimed at the re-establishment 
of the ancient kingdom of Lorraine, such as it 
was created by the treaty of Verdun in 843. 1 This 
was to be a middle kingdom between French and 
German territory — a kingdom which, stretching from 
1 See Chap. VJ. 


(From Maximilian Monument at Innsbruck.} 


the North Sea through to the Mediterranean, would 
absorb the Swiss Confederation, and what of other 
territory we cannot tell. A striking scheme, and one 
which, if it had succeeded, would have greatly 
changed the face of modern politics. Charles's 
deadliest foe was Louis of France, who was un- 
swervingly bent on his destruction. Politically, the 
two men were the very antipodes of each other. 
The romantic duke is the embodiment of mediaeval 
chivalry ; the sober Louis that of modern absolutism. 
His reign seals the fate of dying feudalism. Louis is 
like an immovable rock against which the effete 
Middle Ages dash themselves in vain. He stands, 
indeed, between two great historical epochs. Charles 
is doomed to fall ; for pitilessly Louis crushes his 
unruly vassals, and feudatory France is by his power 
welded into a mighty and absolute monarch)'. The 
ambitious hotspur, the warlike duke, believes himself 
a second Alexander. And, indeed, in all Christen- 
dom there is no court so splendid as his, no treasury 
so vast. His magnificence is more than royal, more 
even than imperial, and he grapples with numberless 
intricate problems. To carry out his plans he stakes 
realm and life,. but lacking patience and sound political 
judgment he fails in his chief enterprises. 1 

The preliminary steps leading to the war are a 

1 One curious instance of his failures may be given. The Burgundian 
crc A ? n was ready for him, and he proceeded to Trier (1473) to have it 
placed on his brow by the (Roman) emperor, and push his impe'ial 
rlaims. However, Frederick III., becoming alarmed at the presumption 
of the future Welsh-German sovereign, broke off negotiations, and fled 
at night with his son Max, who was to have married the daughter of 


diplomatic maze, revealing the double-dealing of the 
actors, and likewise showing the uncertain position 
heldftby the Swiss League in the empire. The de- 
struction of this league, and the overthrow of Charles 
the Bold were chiefly aimed at. The maze of intrigue 
is, indeed, well-nigh impenetrable ; yet, because the 
preliminaries are far less known than the wars which 
followed, and the actual facts have been often distorted, 
the}' will, no doubt, command general interest, and we 
shall try to disentangle the skeins as best we can. 
The battle of St. Jacques had secured for the Con- 
federates, not only the sympathies of Louis, but also 
the alliance of his father, Philip the Good, of Bur- 
gundy, the Sforzas of Milan, and others. Since those 
times of prowess the young republic had been growing 
into a prosperous and powerful nation, not without its 
influence on continental military affairs. Admired, 
envied, and feared, by turns, its friendship was greatly 
appreciated, and it lent protection to all who sought it. 
So strong was its love of warfare, that it was at all 
times ready to avenge any wrong or fancied wrong 
done to itself or its friends. Thus, Zurich, in 1456, 
laid waste the lands of the Austrian knight-robbers 
who had plundered some Strasburg merchants on a 
Swiss round. Despite the distance between them, the 
two towns of Strasburg and Zurich were on terms of 
close friendship. 1 At the bidding of Pius II., the 
elegant Latin writer commonly known as ^Eneas 

' A p'easant slory is related to the effect that, on one occasii n. some 
young Zurich men started off in a boat by way of the Limmat ami the 
Rhine, taking a dish of hot lentils with them. Reaching Strasburg in 
the evening they placed the- dish, still hot, on the major's dinner table. 
A famous poem, " GliicUhaft Schiff," describes the event. 


Sylvius, who had fallen out with his literary friend, 
Duke Sigmund of Austria, the Eidgenossen conquered 
Thurgau, which had remained still an Austrian! pro- 
vince, and placed it amongst their subject lands. The 
quarrels of Mulhauscn and Schaff hauscn with Austria 
entangled their friends of the league into a war with 
Sigmund (1468), who, to secure peace, agreed to pay 
over the sum of ten thousand florins, guaranteeing 
them their recent conquests. This feud of Waldshut 
(Black Forest) led to the Burgundian wars. 

Extravagant but poor, Sigmund failed to find even 
that modest sum, and applied to Louis of France for 
help, but was by him referred to Charles of Burgundy. 
The astute Louis saw that a quarrel between the 
dukes would be injurious and possibly fatal to 
Charles, who, all unaware of the pitfall prepared for 
him, readily fell in with the proposals of Sigmund. 
He was anxious to join together Alsace, Brcisgau, the 
Aargau towns on the Rhine, &c, and advanced fifty 
thousand florins as mortgage on the dominions of Sig- 
mund, expecting they would soon fall to him entirely. 
By the treaty of St Omcr, in 1469, their mutual terms 
of agreement were thus fixed : — Charles to give help 
in case of need against the Swiss, and Sigmund to 
promote the long-planned marriage between the son 
of his cousin and Maria of Burgundy. Rejoicing at 
this turn of fortune, the emperor at once disannulled 
the treaty of Waldshut, and the new lands were by 
Charles the Bold entrusted to the management of 
his favourite, Peter von Hagenbach. 1 A tyrant and a 
libertine, his acts of violence, and those of his foreign 

1 Well known from Scott's "Anne of Geierstein." 


soldiery, exasperated the German populations of 
Alsace, Basel, Bern, and Solothurn. Their merchants 
being- robbed on the Rhine, their envoys imprisoned 
— one Bernese man was killed in a fray — they com- 
plained to the duke, but without result for the cruelties 
and oppression continued. 

Artful and ever on the watch, Louis found that the 
Eidgenossen, disgusted by the grasping tendencies of 
Charles, were fast drifting away from their good 
understanding with Burgundy, and strove to draw 
them to his own side. Anxious to secure a friend, 
the Swiss lent willing ears to the flattery and insinua- 
tions of the crafty Louis. He actually succeeded in 
effecting a reconciliation between the Eidgenossen and 
Austria. It was a cleverly calculated bit of diplomacy, 
that secured for the Swiss their recent conquests, 
isolated Charles, and strengthened the opposition 
against him. Louis fixed a pension on Sigmund, and 
urged him to pay off the mortgage on his lands, whilst 
the Alsacian towns likewise leagued themselves with 
the Swiss, and actually advanced Sigmund the sum of 
money required. Charles, however, disappointed in 
his plans, refused to receive the money. A popular 
rising took place at Breisach, and Hagenbach was . 
seized, imprisoned, and brought before a tribunal, at 
which some of the Eidgenossen assisted. He was 
condemned to death, and publicly beheaded, as a sort 
of popular judgment. Enraged beyond measure 
though he was, yet Charles deferred vengeance for 
the death of his favourite, being, indeed, at the time, 
otherwise engaged. Taking advantage of this delay, 
Louis won over to his side Frederick, also lavishing 


flatteries 3n the Swiss, and pensions on Nicolas von 
Diesbach and his followers. This Nicolas was a 
Bernese nobleman and a skilled politician, and was a 
fit instrument in the hands of a king who calculated 
his schemes rather on men's mauvaises passions than 
on their virtues. Louis hastened on the outbreak of 
war, and on October 9, 1474, Frederick called on the 
Eidgenossen to take their part in the attack on 
Charles. They hesitated, but the pensioner and 
creature of France, Diesbach, notwithstanding the 
resistance offered by Adrian von Bubenbcrg, a 
Bernese noble of far loftier character, in hot haste 
declared war against Charles in the name of the 
empire, and with the consent of the Confederation. 
But war once actually afoot the Swiss were made a 
mere catspaw by their partners, and left to their own 

In a short story like this it is impossible to discuss' 
the merits or demerits of the various factions, or 
those of Hagenbach or Diesbach, 1 yet we must dwell 
for a moment on the federal policy, and more espe- 
cially on that of Bern. The position of the Swiss 
League at the outbreak of the war was very similar to 
that of " Sweden, under Gustavus Adolphus, in the 
Thirty Years' War." Threatened by the preponderat- 
ing power of Austria, she would not take up arms till 
France, equally interested in the downfall of Ffabs- 
burg, under Richelieu, drove her to war by sending 
subsidies. But French gold was by no means the 
actuai and moving cause of the war. Many things 

' For these matters the reader is directed to Freeman's admirable 
essay on Charles the Bold. 


concurred to give rise to it, not the least being Bern's 
extraordinary bent for aggrandisement and conquest. 
Her aggressiveness and her farsightedness were quite 
remarkable for that age, and her policy was conceived 
on so large a scale that she has been not inaptly com- 
pared to ancient Rome. Bordering on Swiss Bur- 
gundy, Bern had strong western leanings, if one may 
so speak, and very early set her eyes on Vaud and 
Geneva She considered Mount Jura as the true 
western boundary, for French Switzerland still lay 
without the pale of the Confederation, and belonged 
for the most part to Savoy, or the vassals of Savoy. 
However selfish the policy of Bern may appear at 
this distance of time, yet she has the unquestionable 
merit of having brought Swiss Burgundy into the 
federation, thus connecting the French with the 
German portions of Helvetia. The political views of 
Bern arc clearly evidenced by her foreign relations at 
the time. Her nobility sent their sons to foreign 
courts to be educated and trained for a military or a 
diplomatic career — Bubenberg, for instance, spent his 
youth at the Court of Burgundy. Her leading men 
were well-trained military officers or skilled politicians, 
and the aristocracy which formed the governing body 
Df the town clung obstinately to the prerogatives still 
left them in those moribund Middle Ages. 

The country cantons were less interested in Burgun- 
dian troubles, well knowing that Bern would take the 
lion's share of any conquests. Bern and Zurich were 
rivals, and, like Athens and Sparta of old, followed 
each its separate ends. Yet when the safety of either, 
or that of the fatherland, was at stake, private aims 


and private animosities were dropped, and the Con- 
federates rallied to the common standard, displaying 
that wonderful heroism which strong" love of father- 
land seems ever to inspire. 

The first event of the war was the siege of Hericourt, 
near Belfort, at the bidding of Frederick III. This 
was in November, 1474, and there followed wasteful 
inroads into Vaud, by Bern, Freiburg, and Solo- 
thurn, on the pretext of punishing Savoy for siding 
with Charles (1475). Place after place fell to the 
victors, and with the help of Bern, Lower Valais was 
wrenched from Savoy, and restored to Upper Valais. 
But when once the Swiss were fairly launched on the 
war all their partners withdrew from the stage, and 
made their peace with Charles. The Burgundian 
prince thus having his hands more free pushed on 
alone his expedition against Duke Rene, the minstrel 
poet of Lorraine, in November, 1475. ^ n tne January 
of the following year he opened his campaign against 
the Swiss. 

With an enormous army of fifty thousand of the 
best-trained soldiers in Europe, besides heavy artil- 
lery, he started in high spirits across the Jura, resolved 
on crushing the Swiss peasants, and levelling Bern 
with the ground. Count Romont was sent on in 
advance, with instructions to reconquer Vaud. This 
he effected within a fortnight, the district being in- 
efficiently garrisoned. Charles then marched on 
Grandson, whither the main Bernese force had retired. 
The odds were desperate, five hundred men against so 
vast an army, and, after a resistance of ten days, the 
garrison was allured into a surrender by vain promises 


of safety, and by impudent forgeries. The fate of 
Dinant (Belgium) awaited the body of 412 men who 
surrendered. They were bound with ropes and 
drowned in the lake, or hanged from the trees lining 
the roads (February 28, 1476). In great straits Bern 
summoned the assistance of the other cantons, and, 
on March 2nd, the federal army of eighteen thou- 
sand horse and foot, well trained and equipped, 
assembled at Neuchatel, and Charles went to meet 
this force. A large division of the Swiss having gone 
on in front suddenly noticed from the vineyard slopes 
the Burgundian troops in the plain beneath. As was 
their wont in warfare — they were very religious, 
almost superstitiously so, at that time — the Swiss 
knelt down, and extended their hands in prayer. To 
the enemy it seemed as if they were begging for 
mercy, and Charles exclaimed, " These cowards are 
ours!" and ordered his men to fire. His artillery 
swept down whole files, but, though their ranks were 
broken, the Swiss stoutly held their ground against 
the oncoming foe. Suddenly Charles ordered his 
forces to fall back, with the double intention of 
getting more room, and of alluring his foe into 
descending from the higher ground. But his men 
unapprised of their leader's intentions mistook the 
movement for an actual flight, and their ranks began 
to show signs of falling into disorder. At this most 
critical moment the chief body of the Swiss appeared 
on the heights, their armour glittering in the sun. 
The deafening noise of their war-cries and war-horns 
(Uristier of Uri, Harsthorner of Lucerne) " struck 
such terror into the Burgundians," reports an old 


Scale I in 150.000. 

\ // j 



off J 



O Q(La Lance 

qJj /Concise 


On/pens r ^j 
( ^ 

r ^ 

I ( *> 

1) tf 

A A ^ 

// °/Corce/ettes ^ 

O Sw/ss 


/Grandson ^ 

D Burgund/ans 


A Burgundian Camp 



chronicler of Neuchatel, <: that they took to their 
heels, and disappeared from sight, as if a whirlwind 
had swept them from the earth." Not far, however, 
did the Eidgenossen pursue, for, " with indescribable 
joy," they dropped on their knees to render thanks for 
the great victory. When they neared the camp of 
Charles the terrible sight they saw stirred up still 
more their desire for revenge. Their brethren were 
still suspended by dozens from the trees by the way- 

The bartle of Grandson is remarkable for the im- 
mense quantity of spoil that fell to the victors. For 
Charles and his nobles were wont to carry the splen- 
dour of their court even into their camps. Four 
hundred silk tents came into the hands of the Swiss, 
as well as the arras carpets, and Charles's sets of gold 
plate and dishes, the admiration of the sovereigns of 
the time. His Flemish lace and fine linen were cut 
up like homespun, and divided amongst the rough 
soldiers ; his money dealt out in helmets ; his artillery, 
his beautiful swords and handguns ; and, most 
precious of all, his jewellery, were shared amongst the 
victorious Swiss. Of his three famous diamonds the 
finest passed finally to Pope Julius II., another to 
Henry VIIL, of England, and thence to Philip of 
Spain, and the third to the kings of Portugal. It 
would require pages to give even a bare list of the 
spoils. 1 

' The suits of armour, guns, and banners the suit belonging to 
Charles's court jester who fell at Morat, is at Soleure — are stored u|> in 
the museums of varioi Is. Tl ol Burgund) 

!. rne, whilst the town library of Zurich possesses the seal ol the 
Great Bastard, brother of Charles. 


Despite this great disaster, Charles did not lose 
heart, and within a fortnight began to reassemble his 
scattered forces. His movements were closely watched 
by the Bernese, who strongly fortified Morat, their 
strongest outpost, sending Adrian von Bubcnbcrg with 
fifteen hundred men to hold it against the duke. On 
the 9th of June, 1476, Charles appeared before the town 
with twenty-five thousand men, and his artillery soon 
made terrible havoc amongst the weak fortifications. 
Von Bubcnbcrg, however, vowed that he would not 
surrender so long as a drop of living blood remained 
in his veins. The Eidgenosscn forces, which had 
returned home after the last engagement, did not 
reach Morat till the 21st of June, but determined to 
give battle on the 22nd, that day being the anniver- 
sary of the ever-memorable Laupen. Charles had 
drawn up his troops on the plateaux of Munchwiler, 
Courlevon, and Cressier, opposite Morat, and had 
strengthened his front with a ditch and a barricade of 
trees, having also lined the hedges with his artillery, 
and flanked it with his horse. It was raining in 
torrents ; to weary the foe the Swiss spent the morn- 
ing in dubbing knights ; Duke Rene of Lorraine, who 
had joined the Swiss ranks as simple spearman, and 
Hans Waldmann having that honour bestowed upon 
them. Towards noon the sun unexpectedly broke 
forth, and Hans von Hallwyl, a Bernese nobleman, 
brandishing his sword, exclaimed, " Onward ! brave 
men. God lights up our path. Do not leave your 
wives and children to the stranger ! " Leading his 
van in a wide circle to avoid the hedge he fell on 
the right wing of Charles. Seeing him thus engaged 


Hans Waldmann of Zurich, with his ten thousand 
troops occupying a central position in the field, 
marched up, sprang on the intrenchment, and trampled 
down the hedge. Carrying their guns across their 
shoulders, they rushed on the artillery, who were 
keeping up a deadly fire, and, thrusting back the 
enemy, soon silenced their guns. Then the Swiss 
force advanced in a close phalanx to the hostile 
centre, where stood Charles with the Prince of 
Orange, and other distinguished officers, and where, 
too, were placed the English archers under Somerset. 
A murderous engagement ensued, Charles fought like 
a lion, and soon fifteen hundred nobles lay at his feet. 
Suddenly Bubenberg sallied forth with his force, and 
attacked the Burgundian left wing, stationed between 
Munchwiler and Morat, whilst Hertenstein of Lucerne 
attacked Charles's centre in the rear. A terrible 
panic seized Charles, and his army became suddenly 
disorganized, and fled in wild haste, the Swiss closely 
following in pursuit. For the whole distance from 
Morat to Avenches there were terrible hand-to-hand 
conflicts, for the Burgundians resisted stoutly, and 
the Swiss gave no quarter. Countless numbers were 
driven into the lake, and altogether twelve thousand 
of the foe fell that day, the Swiss themselves losing 
three thousand men. Charles escaped with a few 
horsemen to Morges, but quite dazed with despair, 
and the Eidgenossen turned homewards laden with 
rich spoils. All over the country the bells were set 
ringing to welcome the heroic men who had saved 
Switzerland from becoming a subject-province of 
Burgundy. The great battle of Murten, a purely 



defensive engagement so far as the Swiss were con- 
cerned, still exerts on them the same spell as Mor- 
garte.i and Sempach. 

Luckless Duke Charles had shut himself up in his 
castle near Pontarlicr, a prey to a morbid despair, but 
hearing that Rene was reconquering Lorraine, he was 
spurred into taking up arms once more, and started 
for Nancy with a new force. Rene went back to 
Switzerland, and even with tears implored the Federal 
Diet to help him. The Diet would not themselves 
organize a new army, but permitted men to enlist of 
their own will under Rene's banner. Some eight 
thousand soldiers enlisted, and, under Hans Wald- 
mann, retook Nancy, on January 15, 1477. The fate 
of the unhappy Charles is well known ; his corpse 
was found in a bog embedded in ice and snow. A 
popular rhyme thus characterizes Charles's triple 
misfortune : — 

" Zu Grandson das Gut, 
Zu Murten den Mu':, 
Zu Nancy das Bluf ' 

The acquisition of the victors were in no way ade- 
quate to the labour expended. Tranche Comte, to 
which the Kidgenossen had a title, and which the 
cities wished to annex, was sold to Louis for a sum of" 
money, which he never paid, however. The Swiss 
merely retained the protectorate over the province, 
whose envoys had begged on their knees Lhat they 
might be admitted to the Swiss Federation, to prevent 
their falling into the hands of France or Austria, .1 
fate which was, however, to be theirs. Grandson 


Murtcn, Bex, &c, remained with Bern and Freiburg, 
but the greater part of Vaud fell back to Savoy, for a 
ransom of fifty thousand florins. Geneva had to pax- 
half that sum as a war contribution ; yet the way was 
paved for the annexation of Vaud. Freiburg and 
Low-Valais were entirely rescued from the grasp of 



GRANDSON, Morat, and Nancy stamped the Eidge- 
nossen as the enfant s gates of Europe, and as a 
nation of the highest military standing on the Conti- 
nent, nay, even as an umpire in continental politics, 
and a guardian of the peace. Everybody lavished 
flattering praises on the prowess of the Swiss. Nation 
after nation made overtures to them — France foremost, 
Italy, the Pontiff, the Emperor, distant Hungary, and 
even England, this last desirous of breaking the French 
alliance. The meetings of the Federal Diet often 
became brilliant congresses, lasting for weeks, where 
princes and ambassadors vied with each other in 
bestowing bounties and favours on the Swiss leaders, 
in order to secure their aid, deeming themselves 
invincible if the Swiss fought on their side. The 
period 1476—15 15 — from Morat to Marignano — a noble 
victory and a scarcely less noble defeat, adds another 
glorious page to the military history of the Swiss 
League, but the revers de la medaille shows bitter 
contention and moral decline. In truth, the Burgun- 


dian wars closed a glorious epoch, but brought about 
a baleful change in the face of more noble warfare, for 
Nancy is linked with that period of mercenary service 
and foreign pay which became the curse of Switzer- 
land, and which could not be checked even by the 
grand efforts of the Reformation period. 

Leaving the foreign wars for the moment let us cast 
a glance at home matters. It is not necessary to 
dwell at length on the excesses indulged in by the 
disbanded soldiers, unoccupied and unaccustomed to 
regular labour after the Burgundian wars. These 
things nearly always result from long-continued 

More serious danger threatened the League, through 
the cropping up again of the old antagonism between 
the country commonwealths and the city states. Dis- 
putes arose concerning the distribution of the Burgun- 
dian conquests, and the admission of Freiburg and 
Solothurn, which had solicited the favour, into the 
federal fold. In the fifteenth century the balance of 
political power was gradually inclining towards the 
cities. Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne, had far outstripped 
the "Lander" in population, wealth, influence, and 
culture, and in 1481 their forces amounted to 35,OCO 
as against the 15,500 of the other five cantons. They 
advocated the division of the spoil in proportion to 
their soldier)', and the reception of their two helpmates 
in the previous wars by way of reward. But the three 
Forest States, presuming on their prestige as the 
primary stock and foundation of the league, and 
anxious to maintain their position, resisted measures 
that would throw the weight of power entirely on the 


opposite side. Their narrow and selfish views and 
their obstinacy placed the Confederation in jeopardy. 
Meetings, held to settle differences, only deepened the 
bitterness. A final Diet was fixed for the 18th of 
December, 148 1, at Stanz (Unterwalden), and the 
foremost men met to arrange, if possible, a compromise. 
But high words were exchanged, and when the excite- 
ment had reached its height, the pastor of that place, 
Im Grund, stole away, and proceeded at dead of night 
to the cave Zum Ranft, in a wilderness near Sachseln. 
Here he took counsel with Nicholas von der Flue, the 
famous hermit, who had dwelt there for the space of 
twenty years. Mild words and deep thoughts pro- 
ceeded from the good man, whose love for his country 
had always been of the strongest. In his earlier days 
he had served as a soldier and a magistrate, had 
married, and had had several children born to him. 
But always given to meditation, he was at the age 01 
fifty-one suddenly filled with religious enthusiasm, and, 
unable to appease his yearning soul, took leave of his 
family, and retired into deep seclusion. His commune 
built him a cell and chapel — still to be seen near 
Sachseln — on a rock called die Fliie, hence his name. 
A few planks formed his bed, and his pillow was a log 
of wood. Stores he needed not, for he lived on roots 
and wild berries, and the saying went abroad amongst 
the country folk that he was sustained by the bread 
of the holy sacrament alone, and ate no other food. 
The peasants regarded his person with wonder and 
awe, and though he was seen at times worshipping at 
Einsiedeln, no man ever saw him on his way to or 
from that place. The fame of his wisdom spread 



1 • .. d ■ 



beyoiid the boundaries of his own land, and many 
were the high personages who came to consult his 
oracle— from all parts of the empire and Italy, envoys 
from Sigmund and Frederick. But into subtle dis- 
cussions he never entered, leaving them rather to his 
priests. " Pure water docs not flow through golden 
pipes, but through pipes of lead," he used to say to 
those who complained of the dissolute and degenerate 
lives of the clergy. To this man, then, the good 
pastor unburdened his mind, and from him received 
solace and wise words. Then he toiled back to Stanz, 
December 22nd. Finding the Diet broken up, and 
the envoys on the point of leaving for their respective 
homes, he ran to the various hostelries, and with 
tearful eyes begged the men to return once more. 
All opposition melted at the name of Bruder Klaus, 
the envoys reassembled, and listened with thrilled 
hearts to the profound truths uttered by him. Their 
jars and differences were settled within the hour, and 
Freiburg and Solothurn were unanimously admitted 
into the league. Blessing the memory of the " Peace- 
maker," the delegates returned home, and the glad 
tidings of the establishment of concord were every- 
where celebrated by the ringing of bells. 

Another feature of this memorable day was the 
signing of the Covenant of Stanz, a series of measures 
prepared beforehand, but in which Nicholas had no 
hand. They were levelled chiefly against the excesses 
and tumultuous risings that were continually taking 
place in the country cantons their object being to 
re-establish order and prevent a repetition of the 
insubordination, and to set bounds to " the too much 


freedom in the Lander." Despite the resistance of 
Schwyz the agreement was ratified, and gradually 
became part and parcel of the judicial enactments of 
the Confederation. Breathing as the)- do the vigorous 
spirit of Hans Waldmann, the most influential Swiss 
statesman of his time, these measures were, though 
wrongly, attributed to him. 

This Waldmann is indeed the most conspicuous 
figure in Switzerland in the fifteenth century, and 
forms a singular contrast to the humble recluse Zum 
Ranft, for he shared in all the vicissitudes of his times. 
Full of vital energy, teeming with lofty schemes, his 
life is a bright picture, darkened however, here and 
there, by deep shadows thrown by that stirring, 
luxurious, fast-living epoch, an epoch itself coloured 
by the Burgundian wars. The career of this remark- 
able man is a piece of moral, social, and political 
history, quite worth} - of a few moments' notice. 

From a very modest condition Waldmann had raised 
himself to the highest position in the country, that of 
Burgomaster of Zurich, and head, or king, as he pleased 
to call it, of the Eidgenosscn. The mobile and pas- 
sionate Zurcher, more than any other members of the 
league, lend themselves to infatuations, and never do 
things by halves, whether for good or for evil, to-day 
hurl down their idol of yesterday, and hand him over to 
the executioner, so it has been said. A strange career 
was that of Waldmann. Born in the canton of Zug, 
about 1436, he wandered in early youth to Zurich to 
seek his fortune, and at the age of sixteen bought the 
citizenship there. Apprenticed in various callings he 
turned at length to the iron trade, but his restless 


mind being unalterably bent on the battlefield he 
enlisted as a soldier at the first beat of the drums, and 
plunged into the impending struggles as captain of 
the Zurich men, and condottiere of German princes. 
In the intervals of peace he turned again to business, 
giving himself up at the same time to the pleasures 
of the town. Young, fiery, handsome, with an intel- 
ligent face and winsome manners, he fascinated the 
women, whilst his eloquence and joviality made him 
a general favourite with the men, and especially with 
the masses. Many stories were current as to his 
adventurous life, and the excesses in which he indulged 
in company with other young men of the town caused 
him to be lodged in the Wellenberg, a state prison 
built in the lake. Yet in that age of dissoluteness 
such failings did not detract from his personal charm 
and credit. He married a gay and handsome young 
widow of good family, and called himself the squire 
of Diibelstein, from the manor he acquired. This 
union raised his position in society, and with the help 
of the Constafel, the body of aristocracy with which 
he became connected, he hoped to get a position in 
the Government. But the Junker, or young nobles, 
treated with disdain the pretensions of a man who 
had once been a tanner, and accordingly he turned his 
attention to the craftsmen and guilds, and was returned 
as councillor by them in 1473. Beneath his exuberant 
spirits and brawling temper lay the superior gifts of 
the general and the politician, gifts which the Burgun- 
dian wars were to exhibit to the world From first to 
last he shared in the campaigns. At Morat we I 
seen him knighted, and leading the principal charge 


against Charles the Bold ; the recovery of Nancy was 
chiefly his doing, for he it was who advocated the 
continuation of the war and the appeal to arms by 
Rene of Lorraine, at the Federal Diet. At the 
council-board and in the federal assemblies he rose to 
eminence by his political and diplomatic talents, and 
showed himself to be an astute ambassador. Sent 
to the French Court to negotiate with Louis XL 
respecting Franchc Comte, he lent himself to French 
influences, for his moral principles were by no means 
equal to his intellectual gifts. He became a pensioner 
of that same king, who was thus the first to corrupt 
the Swiss leaders with his gold. In his own city of 
Zurich, Waldmann filled a series of public offices ; as 
edile he built the fine Wasserkirche, the Pantheon for 
war trophies, &c. In 1480 we find him occupying 
a high position as tribune, and head of the guilds, 
and, three years later, he was chosen Burgomaster. 
To obtain this last position, however, he had ousted 
the powerful Chevalier Goldli. He ruled Zurich as 
a veritable sovereign, head of the republic, and swayed 
also the foreign policy of the Federation. He dictated 
terms of peace ; to him foreign princes applied for 
alliance or troops ; and on him they showered their 
He was made Hofrath of Milan, and, 
a pensioner of Austria, began to lean more 
' country than to France, and rightly so, 

11111 rapidly became, in fact, the most 

man, and, notwithstanding his cxtra- 

1 >undless generosity, the wealthiest 

n. Thanks to his great ascendency 
tored to that pre-eminence in the state 


which she had forfeited in the civil strife, and which 
Bern had gained in the time of the Burgundian 

Ambitious, and readily bribed, Waldmann still 
professed lofty views in his home policy and in his 
administration, and these views he proposed to put 
into practice by the help of a political club he had 
founded. This club he placed under the care of 
twelve influential citizens, who followed his guidance. 
There was, in truth, a singular charm about his person, 
and his intellectual gifts commanded the admiration 
of his whole circle. He intended making some 
sweeping reforms that were to change the face of the 
Zurich republic. And he addressed himself first to 
the nobility, of whom he was no friend. 

Hitherto the aristocracy and the craftsmen had 
been equally represented in the government (Kleiner 
Rath, see Zurich), each having twelve seats (one 
having dropped away). Waldmann, however, did away 
with half that number, and supplied their places by- 
men from the Ziinfte, or Guilds, who were almost to 
a man on his side. This not only strengthened his 
power as dictator, but increased the importance of 
the democracy generally, whilst it lessened that of 
the nobility. Nor did he spare the clergy. In i486 
he issued a series of orders against abuses, and 
compelled Innocent VIII. to give his sanction to 
them. Waldmann would at times good-humourcdly 
style himself pope and emperor at Zurich. In one- <»l 
his writs he laments the evil consequences of the 
Burgundian wars, and of the Rcislaufen, mercenary 
service. Foreign influence was indeed spreading fast ; 



the rich contracted expensive foreign tastes, French 
and Spanish dress became fashionable, public amuse- 
ments increased in number, and magnificent family 
feasts — weddings, baptisms, and the like — grew 
general among the people of Zurich. Waldmann 
began to take steps to regulate these extravagant 
tastes, although he himself did not practise what he 
preached — going so far as to fix the number of guests 
to be invited, and the cost of the presents to be given. 
Public amusements were checked or suppressed, even 
when of an altogether innocent character. Reding 
of Schwyz advocated Reislaufen in full. 

The indefatigable Waldmann extended his writs 
and orders to the country districts, and, anticipating 
the views of the sixteenth century, strove for the 
centralization of power. This was with the hope of 
strengthening his government, and bringing the 
detached portions of the country under one general 
code of laws. For each village had so far its own 
distinct judicature. RegensDerg, for instance, jealously 
maintained its curious right of indulging in ear- 
boxing at the cost of five shillings in each case, 
whereas the same doubtful amusement cost elsewhere 
double and treble the money. The city Waldmann 
considered to be the head of the republic, whilst the 
country parts he looked upon as the less honourable 
or subject portion of the body politic. The trade 
and manufacturing industry he monopolized for the 
town, limiting the country districts to agriculture and 
the cultivation of the vine. Numberless were the 
measures of improvement which the bold reformer 
showered on his country, but many of them were 


inadvisedly introduced, and the severity with which 
he carried out his plans alienated all classes, and none 
more than the nobles. Consequently a conspiracy 
was formed by the Junker (the Goldli, the Escher, 
the Meyer von Knonau, &c), against the Burgo- 
master, whose manifest opulence gave the lie to his 
affectation of republican simplicity. But blinded by 
the flatteries of the croud and by his own power 
Waldmann did not see the storm which was rising 

The ill-advised execution of Thciling of Lucerne, 
the hero of Giornico, by the orders of Waldmann, 
whom and whose banner he had insulted in that 
campaign, turned the tide of popular favour against 
the ruler of Zurich, although Lucerne, overawed by 
the powerful Burgomaster did not dare to accuse 
him. But a more absurd if less iniquitous order was 
issued by him, and at length caused the tempest to 
burst forth against him. He seems however to have 
been urged on by his enemies, who wished to hasten 
his ruin, and he issued the order most reluctantly. 
It was to the effect that the country folk were to kill 
all their large dogs, his plea being that the animals 
did injury to the vineyards and hunting grounds. 
The consternation was as great as if Charles the Bold 
had once more come to life. Some obeyed, but at 
Knonau five hundred peasants met, and resisted the 
messengers who had been sent to effect the slaughter. 
With this example the whole district rose in arms, 
and, marching on Zurich, demanded admittance, 
March 4, 1489. It would occupy too much space to 
give the story of this outbreak ; it was stopped for a 


time, but broke out again on April ist Waldmann 
bent on amusement had actually returned to Baden, 
a gay watering-place near Zurich, and the rendezvous 
of the grand-monde of various nations, but he at once 
rode back to the town with his troop of horses, 
hoping to check the revolt by his personal influence. 
But the majority was too strong for him, and 
surrendering, he was with his adherents rowed off to 
the Wellcnbcrg tower, where he was placed on the 
rack, however without anything worthy of death 
being discovered. Meanwhile the burgesses held a 
town's meeting in the Wasserkirche ; passed sentence 
of death on him, and hurriedly instituted a govern- 
ment to confirm the verdict. In his last hours 
Waldmann revealed his nobleness of soul ; no bitter 
accusation against his enemies ever passed his lips ; 
and he never lost heart, for he knew within himself 
that he had ever aimed at promoting the greatness 
of the town, and at that only. Had he appealed to 
the crowds he might have been saved, but he had 
promised to his confessor that he would make no 
such appeal, and on his way to the block he merely 
begged the thousands who had flocked to the bloody 
spectacle to forgive him and pray with him. The 
people were moved to tears, but just then a false 
alarm was spread that an Austrian arm}' was coming 
to his rescue. , This hurried on his doom. He was 
executed in a meadow on an eminence outside the 
walls, so that the armed men might be kept out of 
the town, April 6, 1489. " May God protect thee, 
my beloved Zurich, and keep thee from all evil ! " 
were the last words of the dying man, as he turned 



his eyes towards his loved city for a moment before 
the fatal blow fell. The new government, called the 
" Horned Council," on account of its incapacity, was 
for a while unable to stop the revolts, and more 
executions followed. The " Compromise of Wald- 
mann " ( Waldmawis SprucJi) secured to the city the 
supremacy over the country districts, whilst it restored 
to the city itself its old liberties. To ask to be 
represented on the council had as yet not entered the 
mind of the country folk. It may perhaps be added 
that the question is frequently being ventilated in 
Zurich whether or no a monument shall be erected to 
Waldmann's memory. Opinion is divided on the 





No traveller visiting the picturesque town of 

Innsbruck should miss turning into the Hofkirche to 

inspect one of the most remarkable master-pieces of 

German art, the imposing monument erected by 

Maximilian, of Austria to himself. Amongst the 

numerous magnificent bronze effigies adorning this 

monument, we find those of Rudolf of Habsburg, 

Leopold III., who fell at Sempach, Charles the Bold, 

and many others whose names are familiar to the 

reader of the " Story of Switzerland." But the 

grandest figure there is that of Maximilian himself, 

a personage hardly less interesting to the Switzer, 

from the part played by that ruler in the separation 

of Switzerland from the empire. 1 

1 Maximilian, however, lies buried at Wiener (Vienna) Neustadt. 
The monument at Innsbruck was planned by the emperor himself, 
though it took some generations to execute the work (1509-83). 
Twenty of the relievi were the work of Colin of Mecheln, and excited 

* ? 

5 -S? 

en O 

o ^ 


Maximilian, the son of Frederick III., is the first of 
a long series of monarchs who regarded their high 
vocation as a serious trust, and earnestly desired the 
well-being of the people whom they ruled ; and of an 
empire sadly torn by the dissensions amongst the 
various factions of prelates, princes, and cities, each 
of which followed its own special ends, regardless of 
the welfare of the empire as a whole. Desirous of 
drawing more closely together the various members 
of his kingdom, he sought to tighten his hold over 
the Swiss Confederation, the bonds between which 
and the empire lapse of time had loosened. He was 
at the same time hopeful that he might win Switzer- 
land over for his Italian schemes. He first invited, 
and then ordered the Eidgenossen to acquiesce in 
the new constitution (1495), and to join the Swabian 
Bund, a league formed by the nobility and the great 
cities, under the aegis of Austria. But this sacrifice 
of their freedom and independence did not at all 
suit the Swiss, and they flatly refused. They quite 
realized by this time that their own federal union was 
a much better guarantee of safety for them than the 
dubious assistance of party-torn Germany. More- 
over they felt that the Reichstag, composed only of 
aristocratic elements, would ever fail to really .re- 
present and promote their republican and democratic 
interests. And besides, their strongest feelings were 
arrayed against Austria. The imperial crown had 

the admiration of Thorwaldsen even. The whole monument is highly 
interesting from both an artistic and an historical point of view. 
Among the bronze figures that of King Arthur is the most exquisite, 
and is by the famous Peter Vischer. 


become almost hereditary in the Habsburg family, 
and to submit to imperial rule meant to the Swiss 
the loss of all the political freedom and advantages 
they had gained. Last, but not least, after the 
double-dealing of Frederick III. in the Burgundian 
wars, the Swiss could have but little confidence in 
imperial rulers. The position of the Eidgenossen 
was indeed much like that of the Americans three 
hundred years later. They refused allegiance to a 
government which placed burdens upon them, but 
in which they had little or no share. Maximilian 
threatened the Swiss with invasion, whilst his 
chancellor proposed to bring his pen to bear upon 
them. But a Swiss envoy replied to the monarch 
that he would be very ill-advised to start on such a 
venture, whilst to the chancellor he said, " Why, sir, 
should we fear your goose quills ? We are known 
not to have feared your Austrian lances." For the 
first time, perhaps, the Swiss truly realized that they 
were in a singularly independent position, and 
needed no foreign support for their protection. The 
truant child had grown strong and self-reliant, and 
would certainly decline to give up his dearly-bought 
and much-cherished freedom. 

This stout refusal, the great friendship of the 
Swiss for France — for since the days of St. Jacques 
they had been slowly drifting to the French side — 
and their independent bearing, nettled beyond 
measure their Swabian neighbours. Mutual recrimi- 
nations and accusations followed, and the desire of 
both sides for war was intensified by vexatious law- 
suits, and by serious troubles in the Grisons. At 


last the flame burst forth. That " Rocky Island " 
where three Swiss nationalities mingle peacefully 
together, afraid of falling beneath the Habsburg sway 
— for the Austrian and Rhaetian lands were still 
inextricably mixed together — sought shelter with the 
Eidgenossen as Zugewandte connections (1497 and 
1498), the Zehngerichte excepted. The Tyrolesc 
Government, seizing on this occurrence as a pretext, 
summoned the Swabiah League to its aid, and sent 
troops into the Munsterthal in the absence of the 
monarch. The Biindner replied by calling in the 
Confederates, and war was soon raging along the 
whole line of the Rhine, from Basel to the borders of 
Voralberg and the Grisons. The deliverance of 
Rhaetia (Graublinden) thus went step by step with 
the separation of the Swiss League from the empire. 
This war, called the Swabian war, from the people 
who took the most prominent part in it, glorious 
though it was in many ways, cannot be described in 
detail here. Maximilian was drawn into the struggle, 
but his troops never entered into the spirit of the 
enterprise, and were completely routed. No Swiss 
war has been more fruitful in glorious deeds and acts 
of self-sacrifice. As an example we may just allude 
to the noble courage of Benedict Fontana, the 
chieftain of the Gotteshausbund. He led the charge 
on the strong fortress deemed impregnable in the 
narrow valley, An der Calven (Chialavaina), on the 
Tyrolean frontier. Lacerated by a bullet he 
nevertheless covered his wounds with one hand, 
fighting with the other till he fell exhausted, calling 
to his troops, " Onward, comrades ! I count but for 



one man ; to-day wc arc Rhaetians and allies, or 
nevermore ! " Fired by his example, Von Planta 
and other noble leaders sacrificed themselves ; the 
fort was taken, and the two leagues were rescued 
from the Austrian grip. The Swabian war had 
lasted for six months, the Swabians themselves had 
suffered reverses on ten occasions, whilst in only two 
cases had the Swiss been repulsed ; the German 
territory beyond the Rhine had been wasted ; two 
thousand villages and castles having been reduced, 
and twenty thousand of their soldiery killed. No 
wonder both the contending parties longed for peace, 
and this was secured by a treaty at Basel, September 
22, 1499. The effect was the separation of the 
Swiss League from the empire, but this was under- 
stood rather than officially expressed. The Eidge- 
nossen were released by the emperor from the 
Reichskamergericht, a step tantamount to acknow- 
ledging their independence. One hundred and fifty 
years later this independence was formally declared 
at the Peace of Westphalia. For a time, however, 
many curious anomalies continued ; the Swiss still 
submitted their charters for the sovereign's approval, 
accepted patents of nobility, and so forth. But the 
late wars had again won for them the respect and 
admiration of many of their neighbours. 

Admission into the league was now requested by 
Basel and Schaff hausen, and their request was granted 
in 1 501. Basel ranked as the ninth link of the 
federal chain, and thus took precedence of Freiburg 
and Solothurn, in acknowledgment of its high posi- 
tion and great merits. Basel had indeed advanced 

BASEL. 237 

greatly in prosperity. She had opened her University 
in 1460 ; her importance as an emporium was great ; 
and she formed a fitting corner-stone in the West. 
She gloried in her union with the league and the 
protection it afforded her ; and to show the perfect 
trust she felt, she dismissed all the guards at her gates, 
and placed in their stead an old woman with a distaff, 
who, much to the annoyance of the neighbours, used 
to receive the tolls. Henceforward the Swabians and 
the Swiss were looked upon as distinct nationalities. 
Wurtemberg and Bavaria joined in union with the 
Swiss the very next year, and even Maximilian him- 
self renewed his friendship with the Swiss states. 
" Could there be a greater compliment paid to the 
excellence of the Swiss Union," says a German his- 
torian, Uhlmann, " than this mark of confidence on 
the part of Maximilian ? " After various refusals, and 
only after having qualified itself for taking its posi- 
tion, Appenzell was admitted into the federal fold 
December, 1 5 1 3, despite the resistance of the Prince 
Abbot of St. Gall, as a member on equal terms, and 
the list of the XIII. Orte, or cantons, was complete, 
and remained closed for three centuries. 

The Italian wars which follow bear more or less the 
stamp of mercenary wars, and are interesting chiefly 
from a military point of view, only the essential points 
of their story will therefore be touched upon here. 
It has been shown how the league got a footing in 
Ticino under the Visconti ; ' and later on the Swiss 
not only strove to increase their acquisitions in Italy 
but played a prominent part in the wars waged by 

1 Sex- p. 187. 


foreign princes and powers which set up pretensions 
to Naples, Milan, &c. 

The period of the French invasion of Italy opened 
in 1494 when the Swiss assisted Charles VIII. of 
France in the conquest of Naples, which he claimed 
from the house of Aragon. His successor, Louis 
XII., took Milan from Ludovico Sforza, surnamed 
II Moro, with the aid of the Swiss, promising to cede 
Bellinzona to the Swiss as a reward for their services. 
Of the numerous enemies he raised up against him- 
self the bitterest was Pope Julius II., who counted on 
the help of the Eidgenossen in the task of driving the 
French from Italy, and the more so as he discovered 
amongst them a fit instrument for carrying out his 
schemes. Matthaeus Schinner, a priest, was a most 
remarkable man. Born of the poorest of parents, in 
the Upper Valais, he had in early life sung in the 
streets for bread. From this humble origin he had 
raised himself to the position of Cardinal, and had 
become an intimate friend of the Pontiff. Having 
money, indulgences, and power liberally at com- 
mand, he brought about a five years' alliance between 
the Papal See and Switzerland. The Swiss readily 
entered into this agreement, as they had been slighted 
by Louis, and, moreover, their contract with France 
had expired in 15 10. Spain, England, and other 
powers, had likewise entered into league with Pope 
Julius, but his chief supporters were the Swiss. In 
their march through Lombardy, against the French 
(15 1 2), Pavia surrendered, and Milan also fell to the 
victors. Zwingli, the reformer, who had been present 
in the campaign as camp-preacher, reports that it 


was curious to see the ambassadors of great powers 
appearing at the Tagsatzung held at Baden to decide 
on the fate of Milan, and pleading with the Eidgc- 
nossen for a greater or less share of the duchy. 1 
Despite all flatteries, the Swiss envoys reinstated 
Maximilian Sforza in his heritage, and in return for 
this they received Lugano, Locarno, &c. 

The attempt of Louis to re-conquer Milan mis- 
carried. His fine army, commanded by the greatest 
generals of the age, Tremouille and Trivulzio, was 
defeated at Novara in 15 13. This siege surpassed 
all the Swiss had yet gone through, yet they left open 
the gates, and in derision hung linen before the 
breaches. Foreign historians compared this battle 
with the greatest victories of the Greeks and Romans. 
The historian, Machiavelli, prophesied that the Swiss 
would one day acquire the leadership of Italy, but 
that was not to be, however. 

On the accession of Francis I., that youthful and 
ambitious prince wished to signalize the opening of 
his reign by the recovery of Milan. Anxious to have 
Switzerland neutral he made overtures, which were 
rejected. But intrigues amongst the Swiss and dissen- 
sions among their allies worked in his favour, and 
Bern, Freiburg, and Solothurn, accepted a peace 
against the interests of Switzerland, and their men 
returned home. Cardinal Schinner, strongly av< 
to the French, by a false report that the enemy was 

' "Here you might 1 ition," he writes, 

tion, ami cunning. They strive to puzzle one i thei with the view "l 

drawing advantage from thi They pretend to one thing, but 

to get another." 


at the gate, brought up in wild haste the Eidgenossen, 
who had been wavering hitherto. The Swiss followed 
their leader who was mounted on his horse, his purple 
cloak streaming in the wind, and came up with the 
enemy at Marignano (the modern Malegnano) Sep- 
tember 13, 15 15. A terrific struggle ensued, abating 
only when the moon went down at midnight. Trivulzio 
had cut his way through the force with his sword. 
Bayard, the " Chevalier sans pear et sans reprochej* for 


the first time in his life fled. At dawn the Swiss 
renewed to the attack. Their fortunes fluctuated till 
noon, when the cries of " San Marco ! " announced the 
approach of the Venetians. These appeared to be 
about to cut off retreat, and the plain on which the 
Swiss stood being now under water — for the French 
had broken down the dykes of the Lambro — the Eidge- 
nossen were compelled to retire. This they did in 


perfect order, carrying with them their wounded, and 
retaining their guns and banners. They were, indeed, 
rather foiled than defeated, and Francis, full of admira- 
tion for the Swiss, forbade his troops to pursue. 
Trivulzio declared that the eighteen battles he had 
previously witnessed were but child's play to that of 

In the November of the following year (15 16) an 
" eternal peace " was concluded between France and 
the Swiss, and this drew Switzerland closer to her 
powerful neighbour. The material results of the war 
were the acquisition of Ticino (which was admitted a 
canton in 1805), and of Valtellina and Chiavenna. 
This defeat was a turning-point in Swiss history, 
establishing as it did the supremacy of France. The 
part they had hitherto playca in European politics 
had come to an end, and the ascendency they had so 
long maintained as a leading military power had been 
strangely shattered. A decline was clearly inevit- 

A few words may be given here respecting the 
famous monastery of St. Gall. The cloisters of St. 
Gall shed a bright lustre on Swabian lands during its 
best period, from 800 to 1050 A.D. This famous re- 
ligious-house was a centre of art and high culture, and 
was a blessing to the whole country. We can but allude 
to some of its famous monks, such as the Notkcrs, 
Ekkehard, Ratbcrt, and so forth ; many famous as 
poets, musicians, savants, historians, and teachers of 
the very highest rank. In the noted school attached 
to the monastery there resided and were educated 
some three hundred sons of the German and Helvetic 



nobility. The discipline kept up was most severe. A 
story runs that King Conrad I., on a visit to the insti- 
tution, wished to put this to the test, and caused to be 
scattered under the school benches a basketful of fine 
apples. Not a single scholar touched the fruit, and, to 
reward them for this very remarkable self-restraint, 
Conrad gave the youths three holidays. But the 
number of anecdotes attaching to this magnificent 
institution is endless. 



Perhaps no better place than this can be found for 
discussing the constitutional affairs of the enlarged 
Bund. A description of the rouage administratif of 
each of the thirteen republics would be far too tedious 
to the reader, and we shall therefore treat them col- 
lectively as far as possible. The cantons naturally- 
split into two divisions, those a Grand Conseil, and 
the cantons a Landsgemeinde, the latter including the 
country republics, the three Waldstattcn, Glarus, 
Appenzell, and Zug. 

We have seen in the case of Zurich how her council 
sprang into existence and became the chief corner- 
stone of her constitutional freedom, after she had been 
for generations dependent on an abbey. In this latter 
respect Zurich but resembles Lucerne, Solothurn, 
Geneva, and others, which went through similar phases 
of development. Bern, however, received the stamp of 
independence at her very birth — in the very charter of 



liberties involved in her foundation — and her history 
ran more smoothly. Her government at once took an 
aristocratic tinge, a close corporation of dominant 
families ruling ; and in this respect she resembled 
somewhat mighty Venice. In the eighteenth century 
these ruling families numbered 360, and kept at arm's 
length, as it were, the craftsmen, who, however, were 
not entirely excluded from a share in the government. 
Vast personal property and additional domains ac- 
quired by conquest formed the chief source of the 
power of Bern, and brought in a great income to the 
patricians. Rule, domination, statecraft, became the 
chief concern of the Bernese aristocracy, whilst in 
Lucerne, Solothurn, and Freiburg, the government 
was, if possible, still more aristocratic than that of 
Bern, and in all these cases was presided over by a 
Schultheiss, or Mayor. In the Zurich republic a 
more democratic spirit was found, and the inhabitants 
were given to industrial and intellectual pursuits 
rather than to rule and conquest. Her trade was con- 
siderable, and her constitution had done away with the 
prerogatives of the nobility. Owing to these things 
the way was opened for her burghers into the govern- 
ment, and there sprang up an ambition among the 
craftsmen to rise in the social scale. Zurich is the 
prototype of the Geneva of the eighteenth century, 
the two cities greatly resembling each other in their 
tendencies and movements, religious and political. 
At Geneva the craftsmen, occupying the bas de la ville, 
by their energy struggled to the haut de la ville, or 
quarter of the privileged classes. All authority was 
vested in the two councils— the " Grossc Rath," a sort 

(From a Photograph.) 


of legislative body numbering one hundred or two 
hundred members ; and the " Kleine Rath," a select 
committee of the former, consisting of from twenty-five 
to thirty-six members, in whom rested the executive 
and judicial power. In the liberal cantons the Burgo- 
master presided. The Council, however, encroached 
upon the rights of the people at large, and deprived 
them of direct influence in the management of affairs. 
Basel and Schaffhausen followed in the track of 
Zurich. Genuine democracies represent the cantons 
a Landsgemeinde. The government embodied the will 
of a sovereign people, and from its very antiquity 
commands our veneration and deserves special atten- 
tion. To time immemorial the ancient custom goes 
back. It was known amongst the Greeks, and we 
meet with it in the " Volksversammlung" of the early 
German tribes — the gathering of a whole people 
around their king to administer justice or decide 
issues of peace or war. These assemblies sprang up 
again in the thirteenth century, in the Forest Cantons, 
but now became political meetings, from the necessity 
of guarding against a common foe. The rule by 
Landsgemeinde was adopted by eleven Alpine dis- 
tricts, of which two, Gersau and Urseren, were almost 
microscopical. Five of these were swept away, 
Schwyz amongst the number. Of these we shall not 
speak. Yet the hoary and patriarchal custom still 
lingers on in some of the secluded Alpine nooks, 
favoured by the isolation of the place, and the genie 
conservateur innate in the Alpine folk. Unable, how- 
ever, to clearly understand the ancient Landsgemeinde 
except by reference to the present age, we prefer to 


draw the reader's attention to the living spring, the 
sacred spot where he can " look face to face on freedom 
in its purest and most ancient form " — to quote Free- 
man's fine words — a heart-stirring sight to witness. 

The last Sunday in April is the date usually 
fixed for the holding of the Landsgemeinde. The 
gatherings all bear a general resemblance to each 
other, yet each shows the influence of the locality, 
the religion, or the industrial pursuits of the people. 
But whether we see the meeting in Protestant and 
manufacturing Glarus, in Catholic and conservative 
Unterwalden, or in picturesque Sarnen, the scene is 
one never to be forgotten. Dressed in their Sunday 
best, and wearing the sword, the badge of freedom — 
so orders the ancient ritual — the ardent burghers 
flock to the national ring, or forum, to discharge their 
civic duties. After early morning service, and a grand 
parade of Landammann and staff, halberdiers, troops, 
and bands of music, the Landsgemeinde opens at 
eleven with a religious ceremony. At Trogen the hymn, 
" All life flows from Thee," is sung by ten thousand 
voices, and, at the call of the Landammann, the vast 
crowd falls down in silent prayer. The effect is 
grand and solemn. An address by the Landammann 
follows, and then the business of the day is entered 
upon. The inspection of the yearly accounts, the 
election of magistrates and officials, amendment of 
existing laws and the promulgation of new ones, 
are the chief items on the agenda list. All the 
officers, from the Landammann himself down to the 
humblest public servant, are subject to yearly election, 
though in the case of the chief man re-election 


usually takes place for many years. There are 
indeed regular dynasties of Landammanns, so to 
speak, for the office may remain in the same family 
for many generations. Assent to a proposal is given 
by holding up the right hand, and this the crowd 
does with great eagerness. The list of candidates is 
drawn up by the Landsgemcinde, but, strange to say, 
free discussion on proposed reforms and new laws is 
permitted only at Glarus. The question is discussed 
beforehand by the Landrath, a legislative body 
elected by the parish. " De minoribus rebus principes 
consultant, de majoribus omnes," writes Tacitus of 
the German Yolksgemeinde, and the words apply 
almost equally well here. The Landsgemeinde is, 
in fact, the supreme court, which approves or 
annuls. So recently as the spring of 1888, for 
instance, Urseren was deprived of its autonomy and 
joined to the Canton of Uri, by order of the Lands- 
gemeinde. And at Sarnen the revision of the consti- 
tution was agreed to at the open and general meeting. 
The election of the Waibel, or Summoner, gives rise 
to much amusement, for in him the chief requisite is 
strength of lungs, he being the mouthpiece of the 
Landammann. The installation of the Landammann 
himself is the closing scene, and the most impressive 
one. Slowly and solemnly he takes the oath of 
fidelity to the constitution, and the people in return 
pledge themselves to stand by the leader. With 
hands uplifted the vast crowd repeats the phrases 
word by word as they are spoken by the Landam- 
mann. This mutual engagement between leader and 
people — their hearts filled with the sacred ness of the 


moment, and their voices swelling into one grand 
roll — is almost overwhelming in its touching simpli- 
city and fervour. That the custom has maintained 
itself with but minor changes through so many 
centuries answers for the admirable stability of the 
people, and the suitableness of the regime itself. 

The common tie that bound together the thirteen 
autonomous states into one was the Diet or Tagsat- 
zung. It met at one or other of the chief towns — 
Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, Baden, and so forth. Each 
canton was, as a rule, allowed one representative, and 
any one of the cantons could summon a meeting, 
though this was generally done by the Vorort 01 
canton directeur — a position usually held by Zurich 
— whose member likewise presided. The various 
cantons joined in the discussions according to their 
rank and the order of their admission to the league. 
This will be made clearer by the accompanying list. 
The Boten, or envoys, not being plenipotentiaries, 
would post to and fro between their governments and 
the Diet, to report progress and receive instructions. 
As the proceedings were in later times committed 
to writing, we have extant a most valuable series of 
records called Abschiede ( = leave or conge '). Held at 
first but once a year, the Diet occasionally met as 
many as fifty times in the course of the twelvemonth, 
whilst a single session would last sometimes for 
several weeks. At one period the meetings became 
international congresses, at which the most important 
questions were deliberated. But, in truth, the Diet, 
down to its extinction in 1848, never again during its 
long existence exerted the vast influence it had in its 


brilliant fifteenth-century period. Yet despite its many 
defects, and its slow and roundabout way of doing 
business, the Tagsatzung worked successfully — far 
more so indeed than did the German Government. 

A short sketch of the intellectual and literary life 
of the heroic period may here be given. It is clear 
at the outset that an epoch so largely given over to 
warfare and political progress would not be likely 
to produce much meditative or reflective poetrv. 
" The clash of arms frightens the Muses," says an 
old proverb. (An exception must, however, be 
usually made in the case of the peaceful and 
sheltered cloister.) Yet this active and stirring 
period brought forth much national literature. 
Throughout we find singers who in verse or prose 
chant the national glory, and no episode of impor- 
tance is without its poetic chronicle or interpretation; 
the national enthusiasm vents itself in war- song, in 
satire, in mock-heroics, or in rhyming chronicle. 
Wandering poets living on the scanty proceeds of 
their lieder ; craftsmen who have taken up the 
sword ; soldiers by profession — these are the bards 
of the time. Rugged and unpolished sometimes are 
their verses, for the Middle German is in a transition 
state, and poetry has long since left courts and 
descended among the people. In Germany, as 
everybody knows, had formed the body of the 
Meistersinger. The historical "Folk songs "( Volks- 
lieder) are the overflowing of a nation's heart stirred 
to its depths by the thrilling scenes around it, and 
they are the true expression of the temper of the 
time. We need only allude to the songs inspired 


by Sempach and Naefcls, and the fiery song of 
Morat by Veit Weber, an Alsacian, who fought in 
the Swiss ranks filled with patriotic enthusiasm. 
Lucerne, too, has brought forth many poets — Aucr, 
Wick, Viol, Birker, and others — who sang the glory 
of the great wars. A song and a play dealing with 
Tell appeared about this time. 

Along with the poet the chronicler springs up, 
and numerous instances of this class are met with. 
At Bern we find Justinger (1420), the first to draw 
historical knowledge from the Volkslieder, Diebold 
Schilling (1484), and Anshelm ; at Schwyz, John 
Friind ; at Lucerne, Melchior Russ, Diebold Schil- 
ling, the chaplain, whose account of the meeting at 
Stanz is most trustworthy, Petermann Etterlin, and 
Nicolas Schradin ; at Zurich, Gerold Edlibach, the 
noble knights Strettlinger of Bern, who wrote the 
chronicles bearing their name, and the author of 
the " White Book of Sarnen," complete the list. 
The " White Book " is much referred to by modern 
writers. The most brilliant annalist perhaps is 
Tschudi, of whom mention was made in the chapter 
on the foundation of the league. Biassed as the 
writers often are — nothing else can be expected from 
the times — their records bear witness to the national 
spirit of the Swiss, and to the intellectual revival 
taking place. The first Helvetian topography was 
produced by Albert von Bonnstetten, a Zurich 
nobleman, and Dean of Einsiedeln, and one of the 
chief scholars of his age. He gave a trustworthy 
account of Nicolas von der Fliie, and the Burgundian 
wars. Another great scholar was his friend Nicolas 
von Wyl, a nobleman of Aargau. 


The revival of letters introduced into the subtle 
scholasticism of the time a world of new thoughts, 
learning', and refined literary tastes — humanismus as 
the Germans so expressively call it. Nicolas von 
Wyl is one of the oldest German- Swiss humanists. 
He extended the Italian Renaissance to his native soil 
by his masterly translations of Petrarch, Boccaccio, 
Poggio, and others. /Eneas Sylvius, the elegant 
poet, novelist, and orator, who rose to the Papal 
dignity as Pius II., would have had the world forget 
his fascinating but worldly writings. " Rejicite 
/Eneam, suscipite Pium," was his request. For 
twenty years /Eneas had laboured to bring classical 
culture to barbarian Germany. His earliest pupil, 
Von Wyl, 1 became a great favourite at the German 
courts, and with the literary circle which the highly- 
cultivated Duchess of Wurtemberg gathered around 
her. Von Wyl translated some of the Latin works 
of Felix Malleolus, his friend and benefactor ; for 
instance, his biting satire on the idle Lollards and 
" Beghards." He died at Zurich. 

But if the courts and the nobles promoted the 
growth of the New Learning, the universities were 
its chief support. That of Basel was opened in 1460, 
under the auspices of Pius II. (.Eneas Sylvius), who 
granted its foundation charter. It rapidly gathered 
within its walls some of the brightest minds of the 
day, amongst whom we need only mention the world- 
famed Erasmus and Zwingli the reformer. 

1 Prof. Bachtold's " Swiss-German Literature." 




THE age of the Renaissance ushered in a century 
of intellectual revolution, and wrought remarkable 
changes in art, in science, in literature, in religion, and 
in every department of human life and energy. The 
space at our disposal will permit us to touch only on 
one of these developments, the religious. But the vary- 
ing history of religious movement well-nigh fills up the 
sixteenth century. The revival of learning quickened 
the spirit of the Reformation, though most of the 
savants disapproved of the movement, as in the case 
of Erasmus and Glarean a famous Swiss scholar. But 
whilst Luther's training was monastic rather than 
scholarly, and whilst he was, if anything, opposed to 
the New Learning, the great Swiss reformer was a 
scholar of the first order, who drew his profound and 
liberal ideas from his study of the classics. And it is 
a curious and noteworthy fact that with the spread of 
letters in Switzerland, there started up on its soil a 


host of men of parts * who, forming a school of 
disciples, as it were, espoused the cause of their great 
leader, Zwingli, and promoted it, each in his own 
canton. This is one peculiarity of the Swiss Refor- 

The degeneracy of the Church passed all belief, and 
was, as every one knows, the primary and chief cause 
of the Reformation on the Continent ; but in Switzer- 
land there was yet another cause, quite as important, 
which gave an impulse to the movement — the calami- 
tous consequences of the mercenary wars, touched 
upon in previous chapters. Foreign pay had irresistible 
attractions for captain and man alike, and the country 
was constantly being drained of its stoutest arms and 
bravest hearts. It was difficult to over-estimate the 
baneful effects of this practice on the national welfare, 
and, of all the noble men who deplored these results, 
none felt it like Ulrich Zwingli. An enthusiastic 
scholar, a gifted preacher, a zealous patriot, and a re- 
markably able politician, he devoted his life to the 
work of rescuing his people and country from their 
moral decline. This he proposed to effect by the 
working of the Divine Word. Luther left the knotty 
skein of politics to his princely friends to unravel, but 
Zwingli, on the contrary, shrank from no political diffi- 
culties, encumbrances, or complications. To his clear 
and far-seeing mind social and political reform was 
inseparably bound up with religious change and pro- 

' A mere I i - t of names must suffice: — Lupulus, Wittenbach, CEcolom- 

paJ, Vadian, Collin, Myconius, Pellikan Platter, (ilarean (the poet 
laureate crowned with the wreath by the Emperor Max). Th 
at that time were wont to latinize their nanus in their enthusiasm lor 
the classics. 



[After A spa-.) 


gress. The one would be of but little avail without the 
other, and the great object of his life became the total 
regeneration of the commonwealth — church and state 

Ulrich Zwingli was born at Wildhaus, amongt the 
song-loving Toggenburger, in the canton of St. Gall, 
January 1, 1484. The talented youth was destined 
fp» the Church by his father, a highly - respected 
magistrate, and was sent to school later on, and after- 
wards studied at Bern. Here sprang up his enthu- 
siasm for classical studies under the famous Lupulus, 
whilst the friars were so struck with his musical 
talents that they tried hard to keep him in the 
cloisters. However, in 1500 he left for the University 
of Vienna, and two years later we find him established 
as Latin teacher at Basel and a student of the univer- 
sity there. Steeped in the New Learning his attention 
was now drawn to scriptural studies by the enlightened 
Wittenbach. At Basel, later, he formed a friendship 
with the famed Erasmus. Obtaining the degree of 
magister pliilosophice,\x\ 1506, he was nominated pastor 
at Glarus, and with regret tore himself away from that 
seat of learning. During his ten years' ministry at 
Glarus (a Landsgemeinde canton) his natural taste 
and talent for politics were brought into play. And 
though he founded a Latin school for clever youths, 
and pursued his own studies vigorously, and kept up 
a vast correspondence with Erasmus, Glarean, and 
other noted scholars, he was no mere pedant or book- 
worm, but took a profound interest in the political 
life of that stirring age. Twice he accompanied the 
men of Glarus on their Italian expedition as field 



chaplain, but though he naturally rejoiced at the glory 
their arms acquired, yet his eyes became fully opened 
to the disastrous results of the mercenary wars. His 
direct and unsparing attacks on the Reislaufen and 
foreign pension system roused such a storm against 
him that he was forced to take refuge at Einsiedeln, 
1 5 16. His two years' quiet retreat in the famous 
abbey afforded him a glimpse of the flagrant abuses 
rife in the Church. At first he appealed to the 
dignitaries of the Church to remedy the evils, but at 
length, driven no doubt by the sight of the supersti- 
tions around him, he introduced those sweeping 
measures of reform which did away with every vestige 
of Romanism that remained in the evangelical church. 
Preaching to the thousands who flocked to the wonder- 
working image of the Virgin, his sermons, full of force, 
novelty, and pithy eloquence, rapidly spread abroad 
his fame. He became friendly with other scholars 
and religious reformers. Rome made him tempting 
offers with the view of drawing him away from 
Switzerland and his life-work, but resisting all her 
persuasion, he accepted a call to Zurich, as plebamis 
at the Minster, December, 15 18. Zurich was the 
foremost town of the Confederation, but was justly 
reputed a dissolute city, not unlike the then Geneva. 
Its enlightened Council saw in Zwingli a spirited 

His opening sermon, on New Year's Day, 1519. 
stirred his hearers in a marvellous way, and at once 
stamped him as an evangelical reformer of no common 
type. He briefly sketched out the plan by which he 
proposed to be guided in his future sermons. His 


subjects would be drawn from the Bible only, 1 
especially from the New Testament, and he would 
follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and not human 
direction. So profound was the impression made by 
his impassioned and eloquent words that some of the 
listeners declared him to be a " new Moses who had 
arisen to save his people from spiritual bondage." The 
learned Platter writes that during the sermon he "felt 
himself lifted off the ground by his hair." The very 
first year of Zwingli's ministry at Zurich, two thousand 
souls were "saved by the milk of the Holy Gospel." 
And his practical goodness of heart was attested by his 
assiduous attention to the sick during the plague of 
1 5 19, in which he was himself stricken and brought 
very near to death. Three hymns composed during 
this trying time reveal his entire resignation and calm 
trust in God. Although he fiercely opposed the sale 
of indulgences there were no thunderings against him 
from the Vatican, such as were hurled against Luther. 2 
The Eidgenossen, being useful to the Papal See, were 
rather indulged; it was even intimated to the Diet that 
they should send back from Bern Friar Bernhard 
Samson, who was preaching with great effect there, 
should he prove obnoxious. With unflagging zeal and 
courage Zwingli followed his ideal in politics, viz., to 
.car a republic on the type of the Greek free states of 
old, with perfect national independence. Thanks to 

1 It i nei essary to bear in mind that at that time the Bible was well- 
nigh a:i unknown book to the common people. There were even to be 
found priests who neither possessed a copy of the Scriptures nor could 
have read it if they had. 

2 On such good terms with the Pontiff was Zwingli that one of the 
Papal Legates sent his own doctor to attend him. 


his influence Zurich in 1521 abolished Reislaufen, and 
the system of foreign pay. This step, however, brought 
down on the head of Zurich the wrath of the twelve 
sister republics, which had just signed a military con- 
tract with Francis I. Zwingli addressed to Schwyz 
a " Holy Exhortation " to serve neither Pope nor 
Emperor ; his exhortation, however, served only to 
increase the number of his political foes. 1 Relying 
rather on reason than on force, he prepared the way 
for his reforms with singular moderation and forbear- 

It was only in 1522 that he began to launch 
pamphlets against the abuses in the Church- fasting, 
celibacy of the clergy, and the like. On the 29th of 
January, 1523, Zwingli obtained from the Council of 
Zurich the opening of a public religious discussion 
in presence of the whole of the clergy of the canton, 
and representatives of the Bishop of Constance, 
whose assistance in the debate the Council had 
invited. In sixty-seven theses remarkable for their 
penetration and clearness he sketched out his confes- 
sion of faith and plan of reform, and utterly confounded 
all objections of his opponents by showing the con- 
formity of his theses with the Holy Scriptures. On 
the 25th of October, 1 523, a second discussion initiated 
the practical consequences of the reformed doctrine 
— the abrogation of the mass and image worship. 
Zwingli's system was virtually that of Calvin, but was 

1 "It is meet that cardinals should wear red cloaks and hats," to 
quote one passage from the Exhortation ; " if you shake them they drop 
crowns and ducats, but if you wring them there flows forth the blood of 
your fathers, your sons, and your brothers." 


conceived in a broader spirit, and carried out later on 
in a far milder manner by Bullinger. To enter into a 
full comparison of the two systems would, however, be 
out of place here. The Council gave the fullest 
approval to the Reformation. 

In 1524 Zwingli married Anne Reinhard, the widow 
of a Zurich nobleman (Meyer von Knonau), and so 
discarded the practice of celibacy obtaining amongst 
priests. She made him an excellent wife and help- 
mate, and bore him four children. The reformer's 
skill in music was often brought to bear on his child- 
ren when they were inclined to be unruly ; he would 
soothe them into peace and quietness by his perform- 
ances on the lute or other instrument. To his stepson 
Gerold Meyer he was an excellent father. Tall, with 
grave but winning features, with a kind and generous 
heart and winning manner, Zwingli's personality was 
most fascinating. A scholar but no pedant, a plain 
but vigorous speaker, of sound and practical judgment, 
with vast stores of learning, and an unusual elevation 
of mind, he was also broadminded and compassionate. 
It may be mentioned that he provided on Ufcnau 
Island in Zurich lake a last asylum for Ulrich von 
Hutten, who had been rejected by Erasmus and 
driven from German}'. 

In 1524 Zwingli began to effect the most sweeping 
changes with the view of overthrowing the whole 
fabric of mediaeval superstition. In the direction of 
reform he went far beyond Luther, who had retained 
oral confession, altar pictures, &c. The introduction 
of his reforms in Zurich called forth but little opposi- 
tion. True, there were the risings of the Anabaptists 


but these were the same everywhere, and the revolt of 
the peasants was a general feature of the time. 1 
Pictures and images were removed from the churches, 
under government direction, and nothing was left to 
distract men's attention, for Zwingli aimed at the re- 
establishment of the primitive Christianity in its pure, 
simple, and biblical form. The Holy Scriptures, 
expounded by the elect ministers of God, were to be 
men's highest guide and support. At the Landge- 
meinden, 2 called for the purpose, the people gave an 
enthusiastic assent to his doctrines, and declared 
themselves ready " to die for the gospel truth." Thus 
a national Church was established, severed from the 
diocese of Constance, and placed under the control of 
the Council of Zurich and a clerical synod. The con- 
vents were turned into schools, hospitals, and poor- 
houses. The famous Chorherrenstift, founded by the 
Carolingians, was turned into a University College, 
continuing to be called the Carolinum. This lasted 
till 1832, when it was formed into the University and 
Gymnasium of our own days. Zwingli was elected 
rector, and lectured on theology. He was also devoted 
to the study of Greek, and on New Year's Day, 1531, 
had a splendid performance of one of the plays of 
Aristophanes, for which he himself wrote the accom- 
panying music, grave statesmen joining the professors 
and students in the representation. Zwingli was now, 
indeed, the idol of the people, and wielded the sceptre 

1 In Germany similar revolts took place, but Luther took no pains to 
appease the peasantry. 

2 Landgemeinden or gatherings of the parishes, a mode of appealing 
to the people which became the prototype of the modern Referendum. 


in his little state. Under him Zurich became a centre 
of learning and religious enlightenment, and its 
influence spread over other Swiss lands, South Ger- 
many and elsewhere. 

The reformed faith penetrated, but only gradually, 
into the northern and eastern cantons. Bern was 
reached in 1528, after a brilliant disputation held in 
that city. Basel and Schaffhausen followed in 1529, 
and then St. Gall, Appenzell, Graubtinden, and 
Soiothurn, though some of them had serious struggles 
within themselves and fell in only partly with the 
reforms. But in the Central or Forest Cantons it was 
that the fiercest opposition was encountered. Many 
things combined to produce this result. In the first 
place, the district was a very stronghold of Catholic 
and Conservative feeling, and religion was entwined 
with the fond memories of a glorious past. From the 
very simplicity of their lives the people ignored the 
degeneracy of the priesthood, and amongst these 
pastoral peoples the priests were of simpler manners 
and more moral life than those in the cities ; they dis- 
liked learning and enlightenment. 

Then there was the old feeling of antipathy to the 
cities, coupled with a strong dislike for the reforms 
which had abolished Reislaufe?i, that standing source 
of income to the cantons. Lucerne, bought with 
French gold, struggled with Zurich for the lead. So 
far was the opposition carried that the Catholic 
districts by a majority of votes insisted fat the Diet) 
on a measure for suppressing heresy in Zurich, whilst 
some were for expelling that canton from the league. 
The Forest Cantons issued orders that Zwinefli should 


b? seized should he be found within their territories ; 
consequently he kept away from the great convoca- 
tion at Baden, 1526. Serious collisions arose, but it 
is impossible to dwell on them here. 

Wider and wider grew the chasm between the two 
religious parties, and Zwingli at length formed a 
" Christian League " between the Swiss Protestants 
and some of the German cities and the Elector cf 
Hesse. On the other hand, the Catholics entered 
into an alliance with Ferdinand of Austria, a deter- 
mined enemy to the reformed religion. At last the 
Protestant party was exasperated beyond bearing, 
and Zurich declared war on the Forest Cantons, 
Zwingli himself joining in the vicissitudes of the 
campaign. His camp presented the "picture of a 
well-organized, God-fearing army of a truly Puritan 
stamp." The encounter at Kappel, in June, 1529, 
however, took a peaceful turn, thanks to the media- 
tion of Landammann Aebli, of Glarus, greatly to the 
disgust of Zwingli, who prophetically exclaimed that 
some day the Catholics would be the stronger party, 
and then they would not show so much moderation. 
All ill-feeling, indeed, subsided when the two armies 
came within sight of each other. The curious and 
touching episode known as the Kappeler MikJisuppe 
took place here. A band of jolly Catholics had got 
hold of a large bowl of milk, but lacking bread they 
placed it on the boundary line between Zug and 
Zurich. At once a group of Zurich men turned up 
with some loaves, and presently the whole party fell 
to eating the Mikhsuppe right merrily. A peace was 
concluded on the 29th of June, 1529, by which the 


Austrian League was dissolved, and freedom of 
worship granted to all. 

Zwingli's closing years were devoted to vast 
schemes of European policy. With the view of 
forming a strong alliance of the Swiss Protestants 
with foreign powers favouring the reformed faith, and 
in opposition to the emperor Charles V., he entered 
into negotiations with France, with some of the 
German states, with the Venetian republic, and 
others. His plans were too bold and sweeping to be 
practical, and came to nought. His relations with 
Luther claim special attention, however. By his 
treatise, " De vera et falsa religione " (1525), Zwingli 
had, though unwillingly, thrown the gauntlet into the 
Wittenberg camp. The work was intended to be a 
scientific refutation of the Catholic doctrine of tran- 
substantiation, and a war of words arose. The 
contest was by each disputant carried on suo more 
by Luther with his usual authoritative and tem- 
pestuous vehemence, by Zwingli in his own cool 
reasoning, dignified, and courteous style and repub- 
lican frankness. Presently there came a strong desire 
for a union between the German Protestants, and the 
Swiss Reformers — the two were thus distinguished — 
the impulse to it being given by Charles V.'s 
" Protest " against the Protestants. Landgrave Philip 
of Hesse, the political leader of the German 
reformers, invited Luther and Zwingli to meet at his 
castle of Marburg, with the view of reconciling the 
two sections. The religious colloquium was attended 
by many savants, princes, nobles, and all the chief 
leaders of the Reformation, and might have done 


great things, but came to grief through the obstinacy 
of Luther, as is well known, or rather through his 
determination to approve of no man's views except 
they should agree exactly with his own. Luther 
insisted on a literal interpretation of the words 
" This is my body," whilst Zwingli saw in them only 
a metaphorical or symbolical signification. Zwingli's 
logic and cool, clear reasoning were acknowledged to 
be superior to those of his opponent, but Luther 
demanded complete submission. The conference, in 
short, resulted in nothing, and nearly ended in an 
open rupture between the two leaders. Zwingli 
extended his hand in token of friendship and good- 
will, but Luther refused it. The truth was the two 
men looked at the matter from quite different points 
of view. With Luther religion was almost wholly a 
thing of a mystic basis, a creed of the heart — of 
feeling — whilst Zwingli, required his reason to be 
satisfied. The one wrestled in agony of soul with 
the spirits of darkness ; the other looked to the 
Divine, all-embracing love under which all creation 
rests in trust and happiness, and under which all men 
are brothers, children of one all-kind Father. 

To return for a moment to home politics. The 
peace of 1529 was a short-lived one. Zwingli anxious 
only to spread the reformed faith over the whole 
republic did not realize clearly the hatred of the 
Forest district against the new creed. Then there 
were faults on both sides— the Zwinglian party and 
the Waldstatten — but the history of them is too 
long and too trifling to be given here. Not the 
least of the mistakes, however wns marie bv Zwingli 


himself, in claiming well-nigh absolute power for the 
two chief reformed cities, Zurich and Bern. Again, 
the refusal of the Waldstatten to assist Graubiinden 
against an Italian invasion was looked upon with 
grave suspicion, and caused much ill-feeling against 
them. War was imminent, and was indeed eagerly 
desired on both sides. Bern, finding that war was 
likely to be injurious to her private ends insisted on 
a stoppage of mercantile traffic between the opposing 
districts, 1 but Zwingli scorned to use such a means 
to hunger the enemy and so bring them to submit. 
However Zurich was outvoted in the Christian League 
(May 16th), and the Forest was excluded from the 
markets of that city and Bern. The rest may be 
easily guessed. On Zurich was turned all the fury 
of the famished Forest men, and they sent a challenge 
in October, 1 5 3 1 . A second time the hostile armies 
met at Kappel, but the positions were reversed. 
Zurich was unprepared to meet a foe four times as 
numerous as her own, and Bern hesitated to come to 
her aid. However Goldlin, the captain of the little 
force, recklessly engaged with the opposing army, 
whether from treachery or incapacity is not known, 
but he was certainly opposed to the reformed faith. 
Zwingli had taken leave of his friend Bullinger, as 
though foreseeing his own death in the coming 
struggle, and had joined the Zurich force. He was 
with the chief banner, and, with some five hundred 
of his overmatched comrades, fell in the thickest of 
the battle. Amongst the slain were most of the 

1 Traffic absolutely necessary to the Forest Cantons for supplying 


foremost men of the city, councillors, clergy, Zwingli's 
friends and relations. Amongst these last was his 
beloved stepson who had been fighting by his side. 
A canon of Zug, seeing Zwingli's body, burst into 
tears, crying, " Whatever thy faith, I know thou hast 
been a brave Eidgenosse." According to the bar- 
barous custom of the time the body was quartered, 
then burnt, and scattered to the winds. And the 
terrible disaster which befell Zurich was followed 
soon after by another. 

But the reformation was far too deeply rooted to 
be thus destroyed. Bullinger, the friend of Zwingli, 
and, later on, of Calvin, worthily succeeded to the 
headship of the Zurich reformers. Keeping clear of 
politics, for which he had no inclination, he concen- 
trated his attention on the perfecting of the Zwinglian 
ecclesiastical system ; working for strict morality 
without narrowness of mind, for national indepen- 
dence, for inquiring after light and truth, and for 
true T^iety combined with benevolence and charity. 
Zwingli had made mistakes of policy, but his devotion 
to his cause, his self-abnegation, and his tragic death, 
made full reparation for them. 

At Solothurn Catholicism again got the upper 
hand, and the reformers had to leave. Intestine feuds 
were breaking out, and indeed the first shot had 
actually been fired, when the noble-minded Schult- 
heiss, Nicolas von Wcngi, a Catholic, threw himself 
before the mouth of a cannon, and exclaimed, " If the 
blood of the burghers is to be spent, let mine be the 
first ! " Wengi's party at once desisted from the 
attack, and matters were settled amicably. 



(I 530-1536.) 

The history of French Switzerland has not yet 
been touched upon, and that for good reasons. It is 
difficult to realize that down even to the sixteenth 
century the French Swiss were still languishing under 
the ancient forms of feudalism, and this at a time 
when their German brethren had long been enjoying 
the blessings of national independence, and had filled 
the world with their military renown. But, in truth, 
the French were slow to awaken to republican 
freedom, and looked to East Switzerland rather than 
to themselves for deliverance from political bondage. 
It is a remarkable fact that the Reformation was 
made but with the assistance of those skilled states- 
men, the Bernese, the connecting link between the 
eastern portions of Switzerland and the isolated 
west. That Bern rightly calculated on benefiting by 
this junction is well known. 

Before passing to the Reformation itself, however, 
we must give a slight sketch of the political condition 



at that time of Vaud and Geneva, with which alone 
we have here any concern. Neuchatel still remained in 
reality a separate principality, though temporarily 
(15 12-1529) under Swiss rule. Vaud had in its time 
seen many masters which may perhaps account for its 
backwardness in adopting home rule. Its natural 
beauty and enjoyable climate have made it coveted at 
all times, in ancient, in mediaeval, and, as we shall see, 
even in modern times. At first a scene of turmoil and 
tumult caused by the quarrels of its powerful nobles, 
it sank beneath the sceptre of Savoy, Peter, the 
eminent prince of Savoy — surnamed the " Petit 
Charlemagne " — having succeeded in establishing his 
authority over the native nobility. Once joined to 
Savoy, the fortunes of Vaud naturally depended on 
those of the Savoy dynasty. Peter attempted to 
annex the bishopric of Lausanne, but failing, Vaud 
was torn asunder, and there existed side by side a 
spiritual and a temporal lordship. Of the two 
portions that under ecclesiastical sway enjoyed the 
less liberty. Lausanne was a place much frequented 
by pilgrims, and was a mart for indulgences, but it 
possessed not a vestige of autonomy. It lay "dormant 
at the base of its many churches." When in the 
fifteenth century the power of the House of Savoy 
declined, the Vaud country speedily fell into a condi- 
tion of anarchy, the nobility at daggers drawn against 
the burghers, and the mountain-dwellers at deadly 
variance with the vine-tillers of the plain. But early 
in the sixteenth century Lausanne was stirred from 
its lethargy by the attempts of Charles III. of Savoy 
to obtain the ovcrlordship of the city. Thus 


threatened, and torn by intestine quarrels, Vaud in 
its helplessness seemed to invite the interference o\ 
Bern in this affair, and that city on its part was only 
too glad of an occasion of interfering". 

Geneva was Vaud's companion in trouble, threa- 
tened by similar dangers, and torn by similar 
struggles. Here also the bishop was lord-paramount, 
but in this case the stout-hearted burghers had 
wrested from him a considerable amount of self-rule. 
Its inveterate enemy, too, was the Duke of Savoy. 
Rut the men of Geneva loved independence far too 
much to submit quietly to hostile aggressiveness and 
encroachment ; for centuries even they had kept at 
bay the designing nobility. Yet at one time the 
Duke of Savoy had arrogated to himself the rights 
of vicedom, that is, temporal justice of the bishop as 
his vassal. Possessing thus temporal jurisdiction, 
nomine episcopi, over the city, he was anxious to 
annex it altogether. Geneva was almost entirely 
surrounded by Savoy territory. In the end Savoy 
arrogated to itself the right of appointing to the see, 
and its nominees were, it is needless to say, always 
members of its own house. Boys of twelve or 
fourteen, bastard sons even, were not unfrequently 
raised to the episcopal dignity. This did not add to 
the peacefulness of the district, and the adherents of 
the respective Savoy and Geneva factions went about 
armed to the teeth. 

The accession of Charles III. in 1504 opened for 
Geneva a period of struggle. Anxious to maintain 
its freedom against a crafty and malignant prince, 
and his creature, the base-born bishop, the city split 


into two parties, the patriotic Eidguenots, so called 
from their relying for assistance on the Swiss Con- 
federation, and the Savoyards, who were nicknamed 
the Mamelukes (knaves). Something like half the 
population were Savoyards by birth. Among the 
patriot party we find the " Children of Geneva," a 
gay and somewhat noisy band of patriotic enthusiasts, 
who loved fighting and did not fear death. At the 
head stood Berthelier the witty hotspur, Francois 
Bonivard, Prior of St. Victor, and a noteworthy 
Geneva chronicler, and Hugues Besancon, a clever 
statesman, and the father and deliverer of his country. 
When Charles required the Genevans to do homage 
they refused, answering sturdily that " Geneva would 
rather go begging and be free." In 15 19, during his 
sojourn in the city, Charles punished with terrible 
rigour this bold stand for freedom ; all were cowed 
into submission except Berthelier, who scorned to 
"bend to a man who was not his master." His head 
was one of the first to fall. But executions of one 
kind or another were soon of almost daily occurrence 
during Charles's stay. Four years later Charles and 
his beautiful bride, Beatrix entered Geneva with great 
pomp, and the princess even remained for the birth 
of her first-born. Charles desired the city to become 
accustomed to royal splendour, and to feel real 
sympathy for a native sovereign. But all his plans 
failed. By his eloquence and patriotism Hugues 
melted the hearts of the men of Freiburg, and 
succeeded in persuading them as well as the people 
of Bern to make an alliance with his own city- This 
alliance checkmated the- plans of Savoy. But the 


success of the Genevans excited the jealousy of the 

" Ladle Squires." This curious nickname was given 

to an extraordinary band of the gentry and nobility 

living around Geneva. They met at a most frugal 

supper, and vowed the destruction of the city. A 

dish of rice was being served by the duke with a 

large spoon or ladle when one of the guests suddenly 

brandishing the implement fiercely exclaimed, " With 

this I shall swallow Geneva!" By an oath the men 

assembled bound themselves to seek the destruction 

of the obnoxious city, and hung their ladles round 

their necks in token of adherence. These "Seigneurs 

de la Cuiller," though unable to carry out their 

design, were yet able to work much mischief to 

Geneva, by cutting it off from the necessaries of life, 

and by keeping up a desultory but none the less 

harassing warfare against it. More than this, 

Bonivard was by order of the duke ousted from his 

living, and thrown into the castle of Chillon, in 1530. 1 

In this same year, however, a new attack on the part 

of Savoy was checked by Bern and Freiburg, and 

Charles was forced to sign the treaty of St. Julien, 

guaranteeing the independence and freedom from 

molestation of Geneva. It was stipulated that 

should the treaty be violated by Savoy it should 

forfeit Vaud to Bern. 

1 For a fuller account of Bonivard the reader is referred to Marc- 
Monnier's "Geneve et ses poetes." It is of course welL known that 
though Bonivard's adventures suggested the idea of Byron's beautiful 
" Prisoner of Chillon," the story in the poem is almost entirely 
fictitious. In truth, Bonivard was liberated by Bern in 1536, and set 
himself to write the annals of his city of Geneva. He was married no 
fewer than four times. He seems to have been frequently cited before 
the Consistory ior gambling and other like offences. 


About this time Bern ventured on the introduction 
of the reformed faith into French Switzerland, hoping 
thereby to deepen her interest in that quarter. She 
found a suitable instrument in the person of Guillaume 
Farel, a fiery Frenchman from Dauphine. The most 
intrepid and daring o( champions of the gospel, he 
had fled from his native soil to Switzerland to avoid 
religious persecution, and had been expelled from 
Basel for his fanaticism. Supported by " Leurs 
excellences les Messieurs de Berne," as the govern- 
ment of that city was styled, he wandered about as 
an itinerant reformer, visiting Vaud and Neuchatel. 
Through his efforts the latter canton adopted 
Zwingli's doctrines, in 1530, Vaud obstinately re- 
fusing the reformation, except in that portion of the 
district subject to Bern. Farel's preaching always 
excited the mob, and his harangues generally ended 
in a scuffle. He would often stop a priest on the 
road and fling into the river the host or the relics he 
carried. He had even been known to burst into a 
church during mass, and inveigh against Antichrist 
from the pulpit. Buffetings and prison alike failed to 
stop his efforts, for rough though his manner of con- 
troversy was, he was yet deeply in earnest. Going to 
Geneva, in 1532, his very name so stirred the Catholics 
there that he was obliged to flee for his life. The 
Protestant party in the city were strong and well 
organised, and they counted on the assistance of 
Bern, and that important state, anxious to convert 
the whole west, if possible, threatened Geneva with 
her displeasure should Farel not be favourably 
received. Thus Geneva was suddenly called upon to 



decide between the friendship of Bern, and that of 
Freiburg, where the Catholic party was dominant. 
Fear of Savoy decided Geneva in favour of Bern 
which certainly was a more powerful ally than 
Freiburg. Furbity, an eloquent priest, who had been 
chosen to controvert the reformers' teachings, was to 
be discharged, and Farel, Fromment (another French, 
man), and Viret, a very able Vaudois, one of Farel'? 
disciples, were established at Geneva, in 1534, by the 
desire of Bern. The new faith rapidly spread, and 
fresh attacks on the part of Savoy against Geneva 
only served to promote its extension. A religious 
discussion arranged by Bern, and conducted (on the 
reformed side) by Farel, took place at Geneva, in 
1535, and resulted in the full establishment of the 
Zwinglian doctrine in that city. During the disputa- 
tions an embassy from the Bernese attended the city 
council to make known the will of the ruling state, 
much after the manner of the proud and austere 
Roman senators of old. 

But neither the ousted Catholics nor Savoy was 
inclined to submit tamely to this state of things. 
Geneva was a perfect hotbed of dissension. Duke 
Charles laid siege to the city, both by land and by 
water. A sudden change in French politics prompted 
Bern to show more active energy than it had lately 
shown. Two claimants for the Duchy of Milan 
appeared, Francis I. and the Emperor Charles V. 
To facilitate its conquest the former also planned the 
annexation of Savoy, intending to include Geneva as 
the key to Rhone valley. Bern thus seeing threatened 
the safety of a city which it was itself coveting, declared 


war on Savoy, and marched six thousand men into 
the Vaud country. The pretext set up by Bern was 
that Savoy had violated the treaty of St. Julien. 
Vaud was seized without striking a blow, and portions 
of Savoy, Gex, and Chablais, were annexed. In great 
triumph the Bernese army entered Geneva, but fear 
of France, and the proud and noble bearing of the 
Genevese, prevented the Bernese from attempting to 
put into execution any plans they might have had 
for annexing the republic. It was in this campaign 
that Bonivard was rescued. 

Great was the disappointment of Vaud to find that 
it had only changed masters ; had been rescued from 
the grasp of Savoy to fall beneath the sway of Bern, 
though the latter master was certainly in every way 
superior to the former. It will be well understood 
that this treatment on the part of Bern would later on 
give rise to serious troubles. Indeed to this day Vaud 
bears a grudge against her former master. However 
the powerful canton set up order and discipline in the 
disorganized district of Vaud, and gave it the cachet 
of its exemplary administration. It was divided into 
governmental districts and managed by eight Bernese 
landvogtc. It agrees with the laws of Bern though its 
local administration was left it. Every effort - was 
made to establish the reformed faith, and a disputa- 
tion was held at Lausanne. In this Calvin took a 
part, but not a prominent one. The result was, how- 
ever, the downfall of Catholicism in the district, 
deeply-rooted though it had been. Schools were 
established, and the Academy was founded by Bern. 
In this way the French position of the country was 


cemented to the eastern half. It was not till the 
Great Revolution that the prerogatives of the govern- 
ing" cantons were shaken, the immense wealth of the 
cathedral of Lausanne went to fill the state coffers of 
Bern, and the funds of the various churches were left 
to provide schools. 



(I 536-1 564.) 

POLITICAL and religious changes had brought 
about in Geneva a confusion which Farel felt himself 
incapable of lessening. By vehement intreaties, 
therefore, and even by threats, he induced Calvin to 
join him in his missionary work, Calvin being already 
known to the world as the author of " Institutio 
Christians Religionis," a work that fell on men like 
a revelation. John Calvin, or Cauvin, was born at 
Noyon, in Picardy, in 1509, and was a northern 
Frenchman of superior intelligence and learning, but 
of a gloomy, austere disposition, with a large ad- 
mixture of fatalism in his views. Destined for the 
Church, he studied in Paris at the early age of thirteen, 
but by his father's wish he changed his intention, 
and applied himself to the study of law, at Orleans 
and Bourges. To these latter studies he owed that 
wonderful facility in systematic reasoning which is so 
noticeable in his writings. But the death of his 


parent in 1531 brought Calvin once more to Paris, 
where he speedily found himself drawn into the new 
religious movement which was winning its way in 
France. Profound theological researches and severe 
inward struggles caused his conversion to the reformed 
faith, in the following year. In 1535 we find him at 
Basel, whither he had retired to escape further per- 
secution on account of his extreme views. Mere nc 
published his "Christiana; Religionis Institutio," which 
is his most celebrated work, and which has shed undy- 
ing lustre on his name. Fascinating by its profound 
learning, its unflinching logic, and its wonderful 
fervour, the book became at once a general favourite, 
and was translated into all the civilized tongues. It 
is not necessary to do more than place before the 
reader one or two essential features of this great 
work. It is of mathematical exactness, and is the 
very base and foundation of his remarkable religious 
system, while it likewise maps out his scheme of 
reformation. This scheme was based on the doctrine 
of predestination, a doctrine Calvin had embraced 
with eagerness. Predestination was indeed with him 
a religious axiom, a self-evident truth which neither 
needed proof nor admitted of dispute, and he made it 
the corner-ston2 of his new religious system. His 
theory was that, of men all equally guilty a priori, 
some had from the beginning of the world been 
destined by God for eternal happiness, others for 
eternal perdition. Who were the elect and who the 
rejected was left an open question. However in- 
compatible with humane feeling, however irreconcil- 
able with the doctrine of the redemption, this belief 


might be thought by many, it yet sufficed for the 
eager minds of the sixteenth century, earnestly seek- 
ing as they were some practicable and, as it were, 
palpable, faith. Whatever the objections to the 
doctrine, it was on this that the Calvinistic Church 
was built, and by its spirit that that Church was 

It was in 1536 that Calvin settled in Geneva. With 
Farel he undertook the reorganization of the Church 
on the lines marked out in his " Institutes," entirely 
sweeping away previous reforms. A " confession of 
faith " was drawn up and subscribed to by the people, 
and a new Church constitution was adopted which 
involved the establishment of a Church censorship, 
or rather a Church police. The rigorous discipline 
enforced, however, clashed with the Genevans' notions 
of present freedom, and the civil magistrates stoutly 
contested the right of the pulpit to find fault with the 
secular government, or interfere in the public admini- 
stration. For the Genevese were a gay and pleasure- 
loving people, and they were moreover boisterous, 
undisciplined, and fond of disputation. A bold stand 
was made against the " Popery on Leman Lake," by 
the national party. The spirit of opposition was 
quickened by the disappointment of Bern at the over- 
throw of her reformation movement and ritual, 1 and 
the immigration of French refugees who strengthened 
Calvin's party. Bickerings, disorderly scenes, riots, 
both inside and outside the churches, followed, and 

' The Bern, that is, the Zwinglian, ritual preserved several things 
which the French reformers rejected, amongst others, the four high 
fii-- days, the baptismal font, and the use of unleavened bread in 
the Communion. 


the direct disobedience of Calvin and Farcl to a civil 
decree of suspension prompted the government to 
pass sentence of banishment against them in 1538. 
Amidst the revilings and hootings of the mob they 
quitted Geneva, Farel going to Neuchatel, where he 
remained till his death in 1565, and Calvin to 

In this more tolerant German city he came into 
daily contact with the workings of the Lutheran and 
Zwinglian professions. He attempted to mediate 
between them with the view of reconciling their 
opposing views on the Eucharist, but failed. He 
admired Melancthon, but considered that his tempo- 
rizing measures resulted in laxity of discipline. He 
was grieved, too, by the little regard shown to the 
clergy, and by their dependence on the courts, and 
the contemplation of all this served to confirm him in 
his own views. He never lost sight of the aim of his 
life — to make the Genevan Church, which he loved as 
his own soul, the rallying point for his persecuted 
countrymen. His plans were greatly favoured by 
several circumstances : the quarrels convulsing 
Geneva during his exile, and the incapacity of the 
new ministry there ; above all, the well-founded 
dread of Bern's supremacy. This fear brought into 
existence the party nicknamed the Guillermins, from 
Guillaume Farel, which literally drove the Genevans 
into the fold of Calvinism. Yet Calvin at first 
hesitated to return. " Why should I replunge into 
that yawning gulf," he writes to Farel, "seeing that I 
dislike the temper of the Genevese, and that they 
cannot get used to me?" But believing himself 


called by God, he yielded, and, amidst acclamations 
and rejoicings, he was welcomed back to the city in 

Speaking roughly Calvin began his reforms where 
Luther and Zwingli had stopped ; they had broken 
the ice for him, and shown him the way. He 
demanded implicit and unquestioning obedience to 
the Divine Word, for human reason, he said, was "as 
smoke in the sight of God." His aim was to found 
a kingdom of God in the spirit of the ancient 
prophets, and ruled by equally rigorous laws. Ex- 
cluding the people from direct control in church 
matters, he lodged the chief authority in the clergy, 
a class which was also to have the preponderance in 
the state. By skilful organization he established a 
theocracy with strong aristocratic leanings, the demo- 
cratic element being almost entirely excluded. Geneva 
became indeed " the city of the spirit of stoicism, built 
on the rock of predestination." But the most curious 
institution of the Calvin istic Church was the Consis- 
toire, a body of twelve chosen from the oldest 
councillors and the city clergy, Calvin himself being 
usually at the head. This tribunal was an authority 
in spiritual and moral, and in public and private, 
matters alike. Calvin's intention was to change the 
sinful city into a sanctified city — a "city of God." 
The members of the Consistoire had power to enter 
private houses, and to regulate even the smallest 
concerns of life, and they admonished or punished 
offenders as they thought fit. Even the most trivial 
matters came within its ken ; it prescribed the 
fashions, even down to the colour of a dress, and 


fixed the menus of the table, not less than it enforced 
attendance at religious worship. The table was by 
no means profusely supplied either, only one dish of 
meat and one of vegetables being allowed, and no 
pastry, and only native wine. We find girls cited 
before the Consistoire for skating, a man for sniffing 
in church, two others for talking business when leav- 
ing church. Every now and then Bonivard was 
brought up for card playing, and other disorderly 
deeds. A hairdresser adorning a lady's hair, together 
with the friends present, was sent to gaol. To the 
Genevans theatre-going was the chief occupation in 
life, but nevertheless theatrical performances were 
suspended, and remained so till shortly before the 
advent of Voltaire, who, indeed, gloried in leading 
back the strait-laced Genevans to worldliness and 
pleasure. But not only was the theatre forbidden, 
but likewise dancing, games, and music, except 
psalm-singing. No wonder the Muses left Geneva ! 
Objects of art, and even those of home comfort, were 
objected to by iconoclasts like Calvin. The once 
gay Geneva sank into a dull, narrow-minded city of 
the true Puritan type. Indeed, as is well known, she 
furnished the pattern for later Puritanism. The 
Consistoire reserved to itself the right of excom- 
munication, that is, of exclusion from the Com- 
munion, though secular or physical punishments were 
left to the Council. 

The criminal history of the Genevan Republic 
reflects the temper of the time, and the spirit of the 
ecclesiastical leaders. Vice was mercilessly punished, 
and drunkenness, blasphemy, and unbelief were put 



in the same category with murder. One reads with 
dismay of the state of terrorism prevailing during the 
plague raging about the middle of the century. 
Superstition was rife and increasing, and every kind 
of torture was used to extort confessions from 
accused persons. Whilst the plague was at its worst 
the sword, the gallows, the stake were equally busy. 
The jailor asserted that his prisons were filled to 
excess, and the executioner complained that his arms 
were tired. Within a period of three years there were 
passed fifty-eight sentences of death, seventy-six of 
banishment, and eight to nine thousand of imprison- 
ment, on those whose crime was infringement of the 
Church statutes. Offences against himself personally 
Calvin treated as blasphemy, as he identified himself 
with the prophets of old. Strange as this assertion 
is, it can be supported. A single instance will suffice. 
One Pierre Amieaux, a councillor, had once in com- 
pany spoken of Calvin as a bad man. This the 
reformer declared to be blasphemy, and refused to 
preach again till satisfaction was done to him. 1 

In such manner was Geneva forced into obedience. 
However, there was one powerful check on Calvin's 
progress, viz., the efforts of the national party, the 
" Children of Geneva," as they called themselves, or 
the " Libertines," as their opponents nicknamed them. 2 
An excellent way of neutralizing the influence of 

' Amieaux was led in his shirt through the city, with a lighted torch 
in his hand, and was required to confess his fault in three different 
public squares. 

- These "Lovers of Freedom" were stigmatized by the opp 
party as " men of loose morals," but of Mich there were not a few 
amongst the Calvinists themselves. 


these, Calvin tells his friend Bullinger, at Zurich, was 
to expel the natives and admit French emigres to the 
Genevan citizenship. " The dogs are barking at me 
on all sides," he complains to the same friend, and 
now and then he made a clean sweep of his adver- 
saries. The Genevans naturally looked with disfavour 
on Calvin's policy, objecting to the French refugees 
not so much from ill will as from a natural dislike to 
leaving a city to which they were so devotedly 
attached, and seeing the positions of honour and 
influence taken up by the strangers. At last, exas- 
perated beyond measure by the admission of a fresh 
batch of refugees, the Libertines attempted a coup de 
main on the Calvin government, May, 1555. The 
attempt miscarried, and the ringleaders were put to 
death or imprisoned, and most of the rank and file 
expelled from the city. To fill the great gaps thus 
caused, three hundred and fifty-nine French families 
were admitted gradually to the citizenship, and in 
this way within a few years the population increased 
from thirteen thousand to twenty thousand. Such 
high-handed proceedings — wholesale proscriptions 
one might call them — caused the wheels to run 
smoothly enough, and Calvin was now completely 
master of the situation. The imprisonment and 
burning of Servetus for denying the doctrine of 
the Trinity once more ruffled the smooth surface 
of affairs, yet helped if possible to increase Calvin's 
prestige and influence. Every one knows of the 
endless discussions that have since taken place 
as to Calvin's part in putting to death the learned 
and unfortunate Spaniard. But Calvin's own defence 


would seem to show that it was he who was chiefly 
the leader in the matter. 1 

His pre-eminence now fully established and 
acknowledged, Calvin founded the Academy, in 1559, 
in order to provide ministers for the reformed 
churches generally. Learned French emigres were 
appointed to the professorships, and Theodore dc 
Beze (Beza) was made rector, and the institution 
became the glory of the city. From all parts sympa- 
thizers flocked to Geneva — Italians, English, 2 Spanish, 
Germans, mostly French and Italians, however — and 
churches to suit the diffeient nationalities sprang 
up. On Leman Lake they found another Rome, and 
another inspired and infallible Pope, albeit a Protes- 
tant Pope. At the first view of the sacred city they 
sank on their knees and sang songs of joy and praise, 
as if they had sighted a new Jerusalem. Wittenberg 
had witnessed similar scenes. No fewer than thirteen 
hundred French and three hundred Italian families 
had made Geneva their second home, and men of the 
greatest mark had settled there temporarily or for 
good. Missionaries went to France to rally and 
strengthen the Huguenots, and some two thousand 
communes were converted to the new faith. Religious 
champions, like the intrepid John Knox, Peter 
Martyr, Marnix (de St. Aldegonde), went to Scot- 

1 The Swiss churches umk-r the rcgis of Bullinger acquiesced, not so 
much from a spirit of intolerance, as from a fear that the influence of 
Servetus might undermine French Protestantism. Rome envied Calvin 
the honour of having condemned Servetus to the (lames. 

- Amongst the English we find the names <>( Spencer, Coxe, 
Chambers, Bishop Hooper, and the Bishops of Exeter, Norwich, 
Durham, and Salisbury. 


land, England, or the Netherlands, to advance the 
cause of Calvinism. To Geneva as their mother 
church may look Puritans and Presbyterians. 

Calvinism but little affected Switzerland at large 
during the lifetime of its founder. Its absolutism 
and narrowness clashed with the milder and more 
advanced, and, if one may say so, more ideal views 
of the Zwinglian system. It was due to the con- 
ciliatory spirit of Bullinger and to his noble efforts 
that the Churches of Zurich and Geneva — while 
other countries were distracted with religious diffe- 
rences — drew together as friends, and that their 
doctrines were blended in official "confessions" of 
faith. Viret's attempts to plant Calvinism in Vaud 
failed, as did those of Farel in Neuchatel. 

And if Geneva did not regard her great master 
with affection, she bowed before him in profound 
veneration. Without him the ancient, frivolous, and 
quarrelsome city could hardly have kept at bay her 
many foes. But trained in the school of Calvinism 
she gathered moral strength, and became the " abode 
of an intellectual light that has shone for three 
centuries, and that, though growing pale, is not yet 

Calvin was a prodigious worker, a profound theo- 
logian, an accomplished linguist, a statesman and 
organizer of consummate skill, and a most excellent 
correspondent. Twenty-four printing-presses were 
kept at work day and night multiplying his writings 
in different languages. No fewer than 2,025 sermons 
of his have been collected, and 4,721 letters. For the 
French language Calvin did much what Luther did 



for the German. His frame, at all times weak, became 
still more enfeebled by continued illness, and it 
seemed impossible that he should be physically fit to 
labour as he did, but his religious enthusiasm was 
able to triumph over bodily ailments Bright, spark- 
ling eyes lit up his pale and emaciated features. 
Averse to earthly pleasures, careless of popular 
applause, of strong and unbending will— though not 
devoid of deep feeling- he commanded men's awe 


(Laus et gloria soli Deo Optimo 
viaximo. ) 

I 1IALKR OF I564. 

{Moiieta nova Civitatis San Gal/cnsis, 

rather than their affection. His near personal friends 
were devotedly attached to him, and on the death of 
his wife, who sank when bereaved of her children, 
his tenderness breaks forth in letters to his friends. 
" If I did not make a strong effort to moderate my 
grief," he writes to Viret, " I should succumb." He 
died in May, 1564, and even in his last moments had 
words of censure for those who had come to take 
leave of him. His death is registered in these curious 



terms : " Aujourd'hui spectable Jean Calvin s'en est 
alio a Dicu, sain ct entier, grace a Dieu, de sens et 
entendement." Beza was elected his successor ; and, 
less severe and more conciliating than his friend and 
predecessor, he exerted great influence, both at 
Geneva and in the reformed countries generally. 
Beza's death occurred in 1603. 



THE benefits conferred by the Reformation on 
Switzerland were counterbalanced by a religious 
schism which divided the land into two antagonistic 
moieties, and paralyzed political progress. The 
religious enthusiasm in Europe had spent itself in 
the first half of the sixteenth century, and the 
energy it had displayed had roused amongst the 
Catholics a corresponding activity. They were led 
by the famous Philip II. of Spain, but fortunately 
Queen Elizabeth of England was able to withstand 
the attack directed against her country. But the 
new order of Jesuits, lately launched on the world 
to undo the work of the religious reformers, took 
the field with united ranks ; whilst, on the other 
hand, the Protestants, split as they were into 
sections, and stumbling over questions of dogma, 
lacked the unit}' of aim and purpose necessary to 
stand successfully an attack so formidable. The 
wars of Schmalkalden (1547-49) were as injurious 
to Protestant Germany as the catastrophe of Kappel 


had been to Reformed Switzerland. The tide of 
Reformation rolled back in Germany, and the men 
of Zurich beheld with grief and indignation the fall 
of their strong ally in the work of religious reform, 
Constance, after its desperate stand against the 
Emperor, Charles V. Zurich was prevented by 
internal dissension and Catholic intolerance from 
assisting Constance, and, moreover, was compelled 
to release Mulhausen and Strasburg from their 
evangelical union with her. Thus Geneva, which 
the Papists threatened to level with the ground, was 
forced into an isolated position, and was near becom- 
ing the prey of invading Savoy. Considering the 
internal condition of the Confederation, we may well 
ask what it was that saved the little republic from 
complete destruction in the terrible storm of the 
reaction which swept over Europe, if it was not the 
very strength of the Federal union, and the common 
possession of the different Swiss bailiwicks, which 
bound the parts so strongly together, and which 
triumphed over both party feelings and private 
interests. Thanks to the moderation of the Pro- 
testants, war was avoided, and the country settled 
into a state of comparative repose. Through 
Zwingli's efforts Switzerland extended the droit 
d'asile to all, and she henceforward followed out 
her mission as a neutral power. It is the protection 
so freely given to refugees by Geneva, Zurich, and 
other Swiss cities that brightens the history of this 
gloomy reaction period. 

Henry II., anxious to win over Switzerland to the 
Catholic cause, requested the Swiss to stand as 


sponsors to his daughter, Claudia, and received their 
embassy with marked distinction. Bern and Zurich, 
however, were not coaxed into an alliance with 
France by these blandishments. France wished for 
the preservation of peace from self-interest. But 
she extolled greatly the prowess of the Swiss, and 
called them the very " marrow " of her army. The 
Swiss excelled in single feats of arms, and amongst 
the Catholic captains stands out conspicuously the 
valiant Ludwig Pfyffer, of Lucerne, who played a 
part, as regards political influence, not unlike that 
of Waldmann, and was nicknamed the " Swiss 
King." The wealth he had hoarded up during his 
French service he freely spent in the Catholic cause. 

Pre-eminent amongst those who worked for the 
Catholic revival was the famous Carlo Borromeo, 
Archbishop of Milan, and nephew of Pius IV. He 
lived the life of a saint, and in due time was 
canonized. To his see belonged the Swiss bailli- 
ages in the Ticino and Valtellina. Indefatigable in 
his labours, constantly visiting every part of his 
diocese, toiling up to the Alpine huts, he gathered 
the scattered flocks into the Papal fold, whether by 
mildness or by force. Shocked at the state of 
religious matters in the Poorest Cantons, he founded 
a seminary for priests, to which Pfyffer at once gave 
a very large sum of money. P'or the spread of 
Catholic doctrines he hit upon three different means. 
He called into being the Collegium Helveticum in 
1579 at Milan, 1 where the Swiss priests were educated 
free. He sent the Jesuits into the country, and 

1 This still exists in connection with the episcopal seminary. 


placed a nuncio at Lucerne, in 1580. In 1586 was 
signed, between the seven Catholic cantons, the 
Borromean or Golden League, directed against the 
reformers, and in the following year a coalition was, 
by the same cantons, excepting Solothurn, entered 
into with Philip of Spain and with Savoy. The 
Jesuits settled themselves in Lucerne and Freiburg, 
and soon gained influence amongst the rich and the 
educated, whilst the Capuchins, who fixed themselves 
at Altorf, Stanz, Appenzell, and elsewhere, won the 
hearts of the masses by their lowliness and devotion. 
In this way did Rome seek to regain her influence 
over the Swiss peoples, and the effect of her policy 
was soon felt in the semi-Protestant and subject 
lands. To the impression made by the efforts of 
the Capuchins the great dissension in Appenzell 
bears witness, the canton actually breaking up into 
two hostile divisions. The Catholics removed to 
Inner, and the Reformers to Outer Rhoden, and each 
managed its own affairs independently of the other ; 
the latter, however, soon began to prosper more than 
the former. In the Valais, the Protestant party, 
though strong, was quite swept out by the Jesuits, 
before 1630, and fled to Vaud and Bern. The history 
of lacerated GraubLinden will occupy the next 

It is painful to read of an act of violence com- 
mitted by the Papists in the expulsion of the 
Evangelians from Locarno, in the winter of 1555, 
where a little band of two hundred adherents of the 
Zwinglian Church had formed round Beccaria. 
Zurich supported them, notwithstanding the opposi- 


tion of France, and even of some of the Protestant 
cantons, and Bullinger was their comfort and strength 
in all transactions. However, Beccaria was com- 
pelled to flee to Misox valley, whence he ministered 
by stealth to his flock. In January, -1555, stronger 
measures were taken, and men and women were 
driven over the snowy heights to Misox, a sorry 
substitute for the luxurious homes some of them 
had left in Locarno. But they were soon moved 
on by the Papal legate, and in May some 120 of the 
band arrived at Zurich, where Bullinger had arranged 
for them a hospitable welcome. These new-comers 
revived the old trade with Lombardy, and reintro- 
duced the silk manufacture, which, being a monopoly, 
became .a source of great wealth to Zurich. Thus 
the town was rewarded for its hospitality. Some of 
the aristocratic Zurich families of to-day trace their 
origin to these Locarno refugees. 

The city of Zurich was indeed at this time a 
general asylum for religious refugees from all quarters. 
Germans, Italians, and English fled there, and espe- 
cially the Marian exiles from England. We find 
Peter Martyr from Oxford established as a professor 
at the Carolinum ; and Occhino as minister to the 
Italian congregation in Zurich ; Socinus and other 
famous Italians. 1 Martyr and Socinus both died at 
Zurich, and lie buried in its minster. For several 
years Peter Martyr and Bullinger had lived on terms 
of the closest friendship with each other, and their 

' Faustus Socinus, tlie nephew of this Laelius Socinus, formed into 
a regular system the ideas of his uncle, and really prepared the way 
I'ii modem Unitarianism. 


letters show how close was the tic between them. 
Their respective religious views naturally tended to 
greater mutual resemblance. Builinger, like Calvin, 
kept up an immense correspondence with the 
reformed churches, and was in frequent communi- 
cation with monarchs, princes, powerful nobles, and 
learned doctors. The readers of the present story 
will naturally feel most interest in the relation 
between the Swiss and the English Churches, and it 
will perhaps be better to leave on one side the tangled 
skein of religious dissensions which agitated Europe, 
and show from authentic sources l — letters chiefly — 
how the Swiss Churches and Swiss divines influenced 
the Reformed Church of England. 

Though the English Reformation under Henry 
VI 11. was greatly influenced by Luther, under 
Edward VI. the Church veered round more to the 
Swiss views, Cranmer especially leaning strongly 
towards Zwinglianism. Since 1536 the prelate had 
been on most friendly terms with Builinger, and in 
this same year some young Englishmen, Butler, 
Udrof, and Partridge, by Cranmer's desire, settled in 
Zurich, to study its religious aspect and enjoy inter- 
course with the distinguished Builinger. In the 
following year Eliot and others arrived with similar 
intent, and a great attachment sprang up between 

1 The Zurich archives are remarkably rich in materials relating to 
the Reformation period. The Simmler collection contains copies of 
eighteen thousand authentic letters. The " Epistolne Tiguiina?," 
published by the Parker Society, London, in 1842, contain copies of 
original letters from the Marian exiles to Zurich divines. At Zurich 
are preserved original letters from Erasmus, Henry the Fourth of 
France, Lady Jane Grey, &c. 


the young men and their spiritual guide. At the 
request of the students, Bullinger addressed to Henry 
two treatises on the " Authority of the Scriptures," 
and on the " Dignity and Office of Bishops," 
respectively, and was afterwards told that the 
treatises greatly interested both the king and the 
archbishop. " It is incredible what fame you acquire 
in England by your writings," says Eliot in his letter 
to Bullinger in 1539; "the booksellers are growing 
rich through you." Under Edward VI., Bullinger's 
relations with Cranmer and Hooper, with Warwick 
and Dorset, and with Coxe and Cheke, grew closer 
and closer, and the Church of Zurich regained its 
ascendency. At Bullinger's house Hooper passed his 
second exile, and he says he was received with 
delight, " being a true Christian," and he states that 
his faith was greatly quickened by the writings of 
the famous Zurich divine. The friendship between 
the two men was most intimate. At Hooper's desire, 
Bullinger dedicated a series of his sermons on the 
" Christian Faith " to Edward, who was greatly 
delighted with them, and had them translated into 
English. During his imprisonment Hooper com- 
posed a remarkable treatise addressed to Parliament 
in defence of the Zwinglian teaching with regard to 
the Lord's Supper, and Traheron states ( 1 54^) tnat 
England at large was inclined towards the Zwinglian 
view. In 1550 King Edward sent an envoy to ask 
the state of Zurich to unite with England with regard 
to a Church Council, and, curiously enough, with 
regard to reconciling that country with France.-' 
1 Pestalozzi's " Life of Uullinyer," Zurich. 


A charming episode in the life of Bullinger was 
the springing up of the friendship with Lad)- Jane 
Grey, then a young and studious girl of fourteen. 
Three letters written by her hand, arid still treasured 
up at Zurich, bear witness to this friendship. Of the 
treatise on "Christian Marriage" dedicated to her, 
she translated a portion into Greek, and presented it 
as a Christinas present to her father. Bullinger's 
sermons and letters were a delight to her, and were 
to her " as most precious flowers from a garden." 
She asked his advice as to the best method of 
learning Hebrew, and regarded him as particularly 
favoured by the grace of God. He it was whose 
teaching quickened her love for Christ, and gave her 
and her family such support in their great trials 
later on. Even at her last hour her thoughts were 
of him, for at the block she took off her gloves and 
desired that they should be sent on to her Swiss 
friends. 1 

It was on the Continent, among the Reformed 
Churches, that Hooper and others gained their taste 
for a simple form of religious worship. When 
Hooper was made Bishop of Gloucester, in 1550, he 
refused both the oath and the episcopal vestments, 
and was sent to prison for his refusal. His opposi- 
tion, indeed, sowed the germs of that religious 
development which so strongly agitated the Church 
under Elizabeth, and which, breaking into open 
schism, resulted in the rise of Puritanism, and, later 
on, of the dissenting movements generally. And, as 
is well known, the Puritans fled to New England 
1 Pestalozzi's "Life of Bullinger." 


rather than give up their religious liberty. Hooper 
was exempted from taking the oath, but had to give 
way in the matter of the vestments. During his 
episcopacy Bullinger was ever his faithful and wise 
counsellor, and when the martyr's death overtook 
him, he recommended his persecuted country to his 
Swiss friends. " Of all men attached to thee," he 
assures Bullinger in 1554, "none has been more 
devoted than myself, nor have I ever had a more 
sincere friend than thee." 

Many other Marian exiles settled in Zurich, to 
whom, however, only a passing word can be devoted. 
Bullinger alone accommodated often as many as 
twenty guests at a time, and both ministers and 
magistrates — Gualter, Lavater, and others — received 
the English exiles " with a tenderness and affection 
that engaged them to the end of their lives to make 
the greatest possible acknowledgment for it," to 
quote the words of one Englishman. The corres- 
pondence between the Swiss hosts and their English 
guests proves how close were the friendships formed 
between them. Amongst these correspondents we 
find the English archbishops, Grindal and Sandys, 
Bishop 1'ilkington, the Earl of Bedford, and other 
notable men Other proofs without number might 
be given of the close connection between Switzerland 
and England in religious matters in the sixteenth 
century, but what has been said must suffice. 

Enough has been said to show how the influence of 
the Reformed Swiss Churches was brought to bear on 
English Protestantism ; on the Anglican Church in 
respect of doctrine; and on the dissenting Church, that 


is, Puritanism, in respect of both doctrine and form ot 
worship. The Reformed Church is the result of an 
amalgamation between the two mother Churches of 
Geneva and Zurich, the union being brought about by 
the desire of the leaders Calvin, Farel, Beza, Bullinger, 
who, anxious for peace and concord, made mutual 
concessions. 1 Thus in Switzerland the narrowness of 
Calvinism has been tempered by an admixture of the 
broader and more enlightened teachings of Zwinglius, 
or rather the basis of the teaching is Zwingli's, and 
Calvin has confirmed, intensified, and completed it. 
Over France, England, Scotland, Holland, and North 
America the reformed faith spread its roots " to grow 
up to trees of the same family, but of different shape 
and size according to the soil from which they started 
up." That Switzerland, with the exception of Geneva, 
inclined strongly to Zwinglianism we have already 
shown. To deal adequately with the question of the 
religious influence of Switzerland on other European 
countries would be impossible within the limits of this 
work. But that its influence was very great needs no 
saying. And not in Europe alone, for the Puritan 
spirit was carried beyond the ocean, and the reformers 
of Switzerland had their disciples in far-away New 
England. Even modern Unitarianism is, in a sense, 
the direct descendant of the reformation of Zurich, 
and its apostles — Williams, Channing, Parker — are so 
far the successors of Zwingli and Bullinger. 

The revival of learning witnessed by the sixteenth 

1 In England the general name Calvinistic is applied to certain 
doctrines of the Reformed Churches, but not altogether appropriately, 
seeing that Calvin was only one of the teachers of these doctrines. 


century had its full effect in Switzerland. The thirst 
for knowledge was so great that men would undergo 
almost any privations in their pursuit of it. Thomas 
Platter — to cite but one instance out of many — rose 
from the humble position of goatherd to be a promi- 
nent master of Hebrew and the classics at Basel. In 
early life he laboured at rope-making, or turned 
serving-man, or even begged in the streets. His son 
Felix was a notable physician. The great reformers 
have already been spoken of. Besides the above, 1 we 
may just mention among the Catholics, Glarean, the 
foremost classical scholar of his country, crowned 
poet-laureate by the Emperor Max. I. ; and Tschudi, 
Df Glarus, the brilliant narrator, author of the national 
epic, Tell, and for centuries the first authority on 
Swiss history ; Paracelsus of Einsiedeln : of Protes- 
tants, Manuel (Bern), the satirical poet, and painter 
of the Todtcn Ttinze a la Holbein ; and, above all, 
Gessner, of Zurich, scholar, philosopher, naturalist, 
the " Pliny of German)-." 

K/einkiuist, lesser or practical art, also made 
brilliant progress in Switzerland. Painting on glass, 
wood-carving, manufacture of painted-tile stoves 
developed into industries almost peculiar to the 
country in their excellence. This is shown by an 
inspection of the magnificent specimens of these arts 
with which the country abounds — splendid painted 
windows, beautiful wainscots, exquisite relievi, beauti- 
ful tiled stoves, and so forth. 

A few words respecting affairs in Geneva must 
close our account of the sixteenth century. The 
' Glarean and Tschudi were Catholics, Manuel a Protestant. 


Dukes of Savoy, unwilling to renounce their claims, 
continued to harass the city. Henry IV., of France, 
came forward as a protector, and Elizabeth, oi 
England, addressed to the Swiss cantons and 
reformed cities letters remarkable for the noble 
sentiments and clear judgment displayed in them. 1 
She urged them not to throw away the key of Switzer- 
land. However, on the night of the 21st of December, 
1602, Duke Charles Emmanuel ventured on a treach- 
erous coup de main on the city known as the famous 
"Escalade." Eight thousand men had been drawn up 
before her gates, and some three hundred had already 
scaled her walls, when the sudden firing by a watchful 
guard roused the citizens to a sense of their danger. 
A fierce conflict took place in the streets, and the 
intruders were fortunately overpowered. This event 
caused the greatest indignation throughout Europe, 
but it sealed the independence of the Republic. The 
anniversary of the victory is still regarded by the 

1 Copies are preserved among the Zurich letters. 




IN the life of nations no less than of individuals 
there are vicissitudes, alternations of prosperity and 
adversity. If the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries 
witnessed the glorious rise of the Swiss people, the 
seventeenth and eighteenth saw the political decline 
of the Republic. Even the Reformation itself led the 
way to this decline by lodging all power — political, 
fiscal, moral, and educational — in the Protestant 
cantons in the hands of the governments. Patriotism 
was on the wane, and the old mania for foreign 
service as a means of securing foreign gold was again 
breaking out. Even Zurich, which for well-nigh a 
century had steadfastly borne in mind the patriotic 
maxims of Zwingli, now yielded to the persuasions oi 
Prance Indeed the Swiss Commonwealth was 
rapidly becoming a mere va^salate of that country, 
under the despotic Louis XIV. Swiss rule was 
taking that tinge of absolutism which was colouring 
the governments of almost all European states. 


Louis, the personification of absolute rule, had 
stamped the century with his cachet, and aristocracies 
and oligarchies were taking the place of the old 
democratic governments. This seems incompatible 
with the old Swiss republican tenets. Yet, drawn 
within the influence of the monarchical states, how 
could Switzerland escape the effects of that influence 
any more than Venice or Genoa ? 

The political and religious passions and animosities 
of the previous century now found vent in the terrible 
Thirty Years' War, which from 161 8 to 1648 con- 
vulsed Europe. Thanks to its good fortune and far- 
sightedness, Switzerland was not drawn into the 
conflict, save as to its south-eastern corner, close as 
it was to the theatre of the great struggle. Most 
anxiously was the neutrality of the country main- 
tained, yet its territory was not unfrequently violated. 
To give one instance, General Horn led his Swedes 
into Swiss territory to besiege Constance. Germany 
and Sweden — Gustavus Adolphus especially T — did 
all they could to draw Switzerland to their side, but 
the Swiss had the good sense to resist all blandish- 
ments, and bear patiently with vexatious intrusions. 
The terrible scenes that were taking place across the 
Rhine were enough to quell all intestine disputes in 
Switzerland itself, and the comparative peace and 
prosperity found within its borders was the envy of 
the neighbouring lands. A German traveller chroni- 
cles his surprise at finding in Switzerland neither 
rapine nor murder, but security and content. Hovv- 

' Appealing to the absurd pretended national relationship between 
Swedes and Switzers, an etymology of the Middle Ages. 


ever rough and rugged its surface, the little republic 
seemed to him an earthly Paradise. 

Different, however, was the experience of Grau- 
blinden, then a separate free state, and a connection 
only of the Confederation. In truth, the history of 
that old Rhaetian land at that time forms a striking 
pendant as it were to the great drama of the European 
struggle. The Latin- German inhabitants, combining 
northern prudence with :outhern passion, had since 
the middle of the sixteenth century been steeped in 
internal dissension, owing to the religious divisions 
caused by the Reformation. The Protestant party 
under Von Salis, and the Catholics headed by Von 
Planta, were at deadly enmity with each other, and 
sided with France arid Venice, and with Austria and 
Spain respectively. John von Planta, head of his 
clan, and solicitor-general of the Papal see, was 
suspected of intending to reintroduce Popery into the 
Grisons. The mountaineers accordingly descended 
from their Alps in crowds, and flocked to Chur. 
There they brought to trial Planta and sentenced him 
to death, and his fall struck the keynote to the tragedy 
that followed. With the opening of the seventeenth 
century the conflict grew fiercer, national interests 
and foreign policy being now inextricably mixed. 
Mistress of the beautiful Italian Signory Valtellina, 
Bormio, Chiavcnna, and the Alpine passes command- 
ing the entrance into the Tyrol and Italy, Graubunden 
became the apple of contention between the southern 
states of Europe. Austria and Spain possessing 
Milan were not without hopes of joining hands across 
Graubunden, and France was sanguine of her success 


(From a Photograph-^ 


in preventing - it. This latter state with Venice had 
effected an alliance with Protestant Biinden, and that 
party strongly opposed the Spanish union for which 
the energetic but headstrong Rudolf von Flanta was 
working. Fuentes, a Spaniard, Governor of Milan, 
furious at the resistance offered, erected a chain of 
strong forts on Lake Como, with the view of cutting 
off the Valtellines. Before long, George Jenatsch 
from the Engadine, Tschusch, and other high-minded 
and patriotic Protestants, began to decry the Spanish 
scheme, and tumults arose. An attack on Planta's 
manor, Zernez (161 8), having failed through the 
escape of Rudolf, Zambra, Landammann in Bregaglia, 
and Rusca, a priest in the Valtellina, both greyheaded 
old men, were seized. They were sentenced to death 
by a new court which had been set up at Thusis, a 
court which raged against popery and spread terrorism 
for some months. In the Engadine a strange thing 
happened. The respective chiefs of the hostile clans 
were the two brothers Von Travers, and a hand-to- 
hand fight between the opposing parties having 
begun, suddenly the wives, daughters, and sisters of 
the combatants rushed amongst them like the Sabine 
women of old, and checked them. Foremost amongst 
these noble women was the spirited Anna Juvalta. 
The Plantas were now in exile, and were conspiring 
with Austria Their cousin Robustello (Valtellina) 
at a given signal broke into the houses of the Protes- 
tants, and, with the help of hired assassins, put the 
inmates to the sword. This was on the 19th of July, 
1620, and throughout the whole valley no quarter was 
given. Zurich and Bern on hearing of this shocking 


massacre — the " St. Bartholomew of the Valtellina " — 
sent troops, but they were defeated at Tirano by the 
Spanish forces and adherents. The Plantas returned 
from exile and asked the Forest Cantons to give their 
countenance to their party, and these were not 
unwilling ; but the plot itself was opposed by the 
Protestant Grisons with scorn and fury. Jenatsch 
penetrated to the castle of the Plantas at Rietberg, 
and Pompejus fell by his hands (162 1). The 
Catholics were defeated at Valendas, and the country 
was cleared of the troops of the Forest Cantons and 
of Spaniards. However, Jenatsch failed to take 

The Austrians still claimed supremacy over part of 
the Zehngerichte,' 1 and we find them, from 1620 to 
1629, twice invading and occupying Graubiinden. 
The most dreadful cruelties marked the passage of 
their general, Baldiron, and Catholicism was reintro- 
duced by force. In 1629, the Emperor Ferdinand 
had reached the height of his success and greatness, 
and Biinden with all its dependencies lay prostrate at 
his feet. France came to the rescue. Richelieu pur- 
sued the policy of Henry IV. to re-establish the 
balance of power by breaking down the prestige of 
the Habsburgs. With the view of gaining supremacy 
for France, he had drawn Sweden into the Thirty 
Years' War ; and on the death of Gustavus Adolphus, 
when the zeal was somewhat flagging, he revived 
it by sending French troops into Alsace, South 
Germany, and the Grisons. The command of the 
Franco-Grison army was entrusted to Duke Henry 
1 See the chapter on the Swabian wars. 


de Rohan, godson of Henry IV. of France (and god- 
father to Charles I. of England), one of the noblest 
characters of his age. De Rohan was also appointed 
ambassador to the Eidgenossen states in 1631. He 
had been leader of the Huguenots, and had supported 
the Edict of Nantes in opposition to Louis XIII. 
Becoming obnoxious to the king in consequence, he 
withdrew to Venice. There he wrote a treatise on the 
strategical importance of the Grisons, as if he fore- 
saw his future mission. 1 During his residence in 
Switzerland he watched zealously over its interests, 
smoothing over difficulties in the Diet to avoid war. 
Richelieu sent him neither money nor help, but left 
him to extricate himself as best he could from his 
position in that isolated mountain fastness ; yet 
Rohan was the idol of his soldiers and of the people 
of the Grisons, and was always spoken of by them as 
the " good duke." In 1635, when France was doing 
its utmost to oust Austria, open war broke out, and 
Rohan gained four brilliant victories in succession — 
Jenatsch serving as local guide and combatant in 
advance, his superior tactics proving too much for 
the Austro-Spanish forces. Yet the "good duke" 
was soon to fall a victim to the perfidious policy of 
Richelieu, and the treachery of Jenatsch. This latter 
was a strange mixture of the noble and the vile — fierce, 
and ambitious, a seeker of gain, yet a man of honour, 

1 Rohan was a great friend to Zurich, and presented to its city library 
which was then forming his " Parfait Capitaine," a Hebrew Bible, and 
hi> portrait. He was by his own request buried at Geneva, and his 
death was greatly regretted by the reformed cities. The letters written 
by his family in reply to the "Condolence of Zurich " are still preserved 
in the librarv. See pamphlet on Rohan by Professor von Wyss. 


full of i wild patriotism and thirst for freedom. Eager 
to free his country from the grasp of the stranger, he 
and the hot-tempered Bundner, at whose head he 
was, suddenly found that they were but exchanging 
masters. Sticking at nothing to gain his ends 
Jenatsch entered into a secret understanding with 
Austria and Spain, and even turned Catholic to win 
more favour with them. Then, forgetting the many 
kindnesses he had received from his friend Rohan, he 
betrayed him to his enemies. It should be observed, 
parenthetically, that the question in dispute was that 
of the Valtellina, and Rohan had had no instructions 
from Richelieu to return that territory. Suddenly 
the French general found himself surrounded by 
hostile troops from the Grisons, and was compelled to 
capitulate (1637). Unable to bear the sight of France 
again, he fought for her under the banner of Bernhard 
von Weimar, and fell at Rheinfelden, in Aargovy, 
seeking rather than fearing death. Jenatsch, how- 
ever, did not long enjoy the fruits of his guilty action. 
Two years later he was stabbed at an officers' banquet, 
during the carnival, by some masked figure. Rudolf 
Planta, son of Pompejus, was said by some to have 
done the deed, whilst another story has it that the 
avenger was Rudolf's sister, Lucretia, who was burn- 
ing for vengeance on the slayer of her father. 1 One 
of the first German novelists of our time, Ferdinand 
Meyer, of Zurich, has worked these thrilling episodes 
into his fi ie story, "Jenatsch." The hero was buried 

1 In Meyer's novo', Lucretia is betrothed to Jenatsch and takes the 
veil after the murder of Jenatsch, but this story has no foundation in 


with pomp at Chur, but his murderer remained un- 
punished. Thus Graubiinden, after a struggle of 
nearly a hundred years, recovered both its indepen- 
dence and its lost territory. 

That memorable event of the seventeenth century, 
the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, which concluded 
the Thirty Years' War, whilst, on the one hand, it 
sanctioned the dismemberment of the German Empire, 
yet ratified the independence and autonomy of the 
Swiss republics. This result was chiefly due to the 
noble efforts of two men — Wettstein, Burgomaster 
of Basel, who most effectively championed Swiss 
interests at the Congress ; and Henry d'Orleans 
Longueville, count and reigning prince of Ncuchatel, 
the French representative at the same conference, 
who supported the Swiss claims. 

The religious strife of Villmergen in 1656, which 
ended in the defeat of the Protestants, cannot be gone 
into here. Suffice it to note that this defeat was fully 
repaired by the second war of that name in 17 12. A 
more important matter was the Peasants' Revolt, in 
1653. It promised to grow to alarming dimensions, 
but was put down by the Government. This rising, 
however, is noteworthy, as marking the vast chasm 
which had formed between the labouring and the 
governing classes. The peasantry were now in a 
state of complete subjection, and patiently awaited 
the dawn of a brighter day, which nevertheless came 
only with the French Revolution. What they claimed 
was the restoration of their old liberties, relief from the 
excessive taxation, and the general improvement of 
their material interests. But many of the governing 


classes, councillors, landvogte, and others, had served 
abroad at foreign courts, and had drunk in the spirit 
of absolutism, and were as much imbued as any James 
I. or Louis XIV. with notions as to the "divine right " 
of the privileged classes to govern. They claimed 
seats on the administration as a right. From their 
superior positions they looked down on the labour- 
ing classes, and had little or no sympathy with them. 
Except in name the Swiss cantons were as absolutely 
governed by aristocracies as France was by Louis XIV. 
Nothing is more ludicrous, or more clearly shows the 
affectations and narrow pedantries of the age, than the 
childish delight in long or high-flown titles, by which 
the Swiss "regents," as they were called, were wont to 
address each other, and be addressed even by 
foreigners. " Leurs excellences," "noble-bom," and 
so forth, were as common amongst Swiss republicans 
as in any monarchy. 1 Nor were they behindhand 
in the adoption of court fashions, wigs, frills, and the 
like ; whilst they hunted eagerly for patents of nobility, 
and placed the " von " so unblushingly before their 
names that the higher classes, and really well-born for 
the most part dropped it for a time. 

The Eidgenossen, however, were eminently useful 
soldiers, and Louis XIV. in 1663 wheedled or tricked 
them into the renewal of the alliance with France, an 
alliance into which La Barde had tried in vain for 
thirteen years to coax them. The wily Louis invited 
a Swiss embassy to his Court, and for a whole week 

1 A few of these magnificent titles, or epithets, may be noted : 
" Hoch," " Wohlgeachtete," " Edle," " Fromme," " Fiirsichtige," 
" Furnehme,'" " Weise Herren," and many more such like. 


amused and flattered his guests with a succession of 
banquets, ceremonies, and entertainments. Moliere 
played before them by royal command. The ambas- 
sadors were thus beguiled into admitting some of the 
most important points in the treat}-, the neutrality of 
Burgundy, the liquidation of the old debt, &c. On 
the 1 8th of November, in the presence of the whole 
French Court, at Notre Dame, the Swiss representa- 
tives agreed to a disgraceful and humiliating bargain 
with Louis. The king was not, however, inclined to 
lavish money on them like his predecessors had done. 
One day Louvois complained to him that his Swiss 
troops stood him dear, that for the money they had 
cost him and his predecessors the road could be paved 
with crown-pieces from Paris to Basel. Stuppa from 
the Grisons, overhearing this, quickly retorted, " Sir, 
you forget that with the Swiss blood spilt in the 
French service you might fill a canal from Basel to 

Despite the engagements to France which Switzer- 
land had entered into, it never ceased to give shelter 
to the French refugees who fled to escape the 
persecutions of Louis — to the Waldenses and the 
Huguenots. After the revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, sixty -six thousand emigrants are said to have 
found shelter in Switzerland. Amongst the Swiss 
cities Geneva stands out conspicuously and honourably 
by her great benevolence. Not to speak of the vast 
amount of private assistance given, the municipality 
spent on the relief of the religious refugees no less a 
sum than five million florins between 1685 and 1726. 
Gradually the Eidgenossen became alive to the real 


character of Louis and his negotiations with them, 
and ashamed of their own lack of patriotism. As 
early as 1689, indeed, we find Swiss envoys from Bern 
and Zurich at Paris, rejecting his bribes, his golden 
chains, and what not. And on their return home 
they received the eulogies of their people for their 
integrity and independence. Gradually the league 
with France was set aside, or ignored. Nevertheless, 
the system of mercenary service remained an evil — one 
may say a cancerous evil — in the Swiss policy of tne 
later centuries. 



POLITICALLY Switzerland presents much the same 
aspect in the eighteenth as in the previous century, 
and it needs here only a few words to indicate more 
clearly the temper of the times. In Swiss lands, as 
elsewhere, we have the inevitable division into the 
two classes of governor and governed. The rank and 
file of the " reigning families," regiments-ftihig, patri- 
cians or plutocrats, rigorously kept all power to 
themselves, and held sway over the ordinary burghers 
and common folk. Unchecked rule and superiority 
and a life of ease and luxury on the one side ; blind 
submission and toil on the other, especially in the 
rural districts. Even in the professedly democratic 
cantons the same despotism is met with ; chieftains 
and family "dynasts" seizing the reins of govern- 
ment, and overruling the landsgemeinde, whilst they 
contend with each other for supremacy. Just as in 
the case of the oligarchies, the laender make the most 
of their "divine right" to govern. No wonder risings 


took place, as that of the against the 
harsh landvogte of Uri, and that of the YVcrden- 
berger (S- Gall) against Giarus, though these revolts 
were in vain. In Zurich, Schaffhausen, and Basel, 
there was less oppression, the guilds keeping the 
nobility at bay, though this guild system itself was 
not without blemish. The chief cities or cantonal 
chcfs-lieux one and all held sovereign sway over the 
country districts attaching to them, but, like the old 
nobility of France, shifted off their own shoulders 
nearly all taxation, whilst they monopolized trade 
and industry. Thus the peasantry were crushed with 
the weight of taxes, imposts, tithes, and what not. 

Religious differences had deepened since the second 
war of Villmergen (17 12), which had brought, the 
Protestants to the fore, and had established the prin- 
ciple of religious equality. The Catholics, having 
lost their supremacy in certain bailiwicks or subject 
districts, began to dream of regaining their lost 
position. To this end they entered into a secret 
agreement {ligue a la cassette) with Louis XIV. of 
France shortly before that monarch's death It was 
not till 1777, however, that France really gained her 
point. In that year the common fear of Austria 
induced both Protestants and Catholics to enter into 
a league with Louis XVI. Thus, for the first time 
since the Reformation, the Confederates were a 
united body, or at any raie were agreed as to their 
joint plan of action. 

Interesting though the task might be, it is here 
impossible to investigate the various conditions of 
the government in the subject lands — Aargau, 


Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, part of St. Gall, portions 
gained by conquest, or fragments acquired by pur- 
chase. We should meet with curious remnants of 
feudalism, and strange mixtures of the mediaeval 
and the modern. But our space will permit of only 
a glance. The subject lands were deprived of all 
self-government, and the landvdgte ruled them as an 
Eastern satrap might rule his satrapy. A somewhat 
strange arrangement for a republic to make and 
allow ; but yet, on the whole, the government was 
excellent, and this state of things continued for a 
long period. Abuses, bribery, extortions, and the 
like of course crept in, but it is to be remembered 
that the landvdgte were strictly controlled by the 
central government. 1 Many of them, especially at 
Bern, kept up much state ; possessed horses, carriages, 
and livery-servants, and kept open house. In their 
lordships they ruled as veritable sovereigns, but they 
cared for their people, as good sovereigns should. 
They were, indeed, more like the patriarchs of old, 
rewarding or admonishing their peoples as circum- 
stances required. One specimen of the class was 
greatly admired by Goethe, viz., Landvogt Landolt 
von Greifensee (Zurich). A few traits will serve to 
mark the man and the system. This governor was 
of the old school, and hated enlightened peasants 
and modern revolutionary ideas. He advocated 
compulsory attendance at church, and firmly be- 
lieved in flogging as the most rational form of 
punishment. On the other hand, he was both 

1 The unrighteous and cruel Landvogt Tscharner was punished with 
death Ly the Bernese Government in 1612. 


benevolent and humane, and watched over his 
people with a fatherly care. He was equally 
anxious to improve their farms and their morals. 
He was wont to go about incognito — generally 
dressed as a Tyrolese — and visited the printshops 
to find out the gamblers and the drunkards. The 
latter he had put into a revolving cage till they got 
sober. Quarrelling couples he shut up together, and 
forced them to eat with the same spoon ! l But among 
many subject lands the system had greatly changed. 

The greatest holder of subject territory was Bern, 
with its forty-four lordships or bailiwicks, Zurich 
coming next with twenty-nine. The largest subject 
district was Vaud, and, thanks to its thriving agri- 
culture, and the wise, though harsh, administration 
of Bern, it flourished greatly. The Vaudois had 
on the whole submitted quietly to Bernese rule, 
though the upper classes amongst them did not 
relish their exclusion from the conduct of State 
affairs. However, bowing to the inevitable, they 
gave themselves up to the enjoyment of a life of 
pleasure and to intellectual pursuits. About this 
time Lausanne, their capital, had become the resort 
of men like Gibbon, Fox, Raynal, Voltaire, and 
many men of lesser mark. They were attracted 
by the beauty of the scenery and by the high repute 
of the Vaud gentry for good breeding and affability. 
These noble families opened their salons to the dis- 
tinguished foreigners who resided among them, and 

1 For further particulars about this original man the reader is re r erred 
v to the charming novel bearing his name, by Keller (Keller's " Zurcher 
Novellsn"), and the excellent biography of Lamlolt by Hess. 


Gibbon seems to have particularly appreciated their 
good qualities. 1 The historian spent much of his 
life at Lausanne. An un^'c 1 --- attempt had been 
made by Major Davel, in 1723, to rescue Vaud 
from the grasp of Bern. This enthusiastic patriot 
had himself concocted the plot, and attempted to 
carry out his plans without informing a single person 
of his intentions. Mustering his men, Davel, on 
some pretence, led them to Lausanne, where the 
council were then sitting, the landvogte being up at 
Bern, and informed the board what he proposed to 
do. But the members of the council were not yet 
prepared to seek emancipation, and, simulating an 
understanding, betrayed the luckless patriot to the 
Bernese authorities. " Leurs Excellences" — such 
was the official title of the Bernese rulers — made 
use of the rack, with the object of extorting from 
him the names of his accomplices, but in vain, and 
he was beheaded. 

Amongst the leading cities of the Confederation, 
Zurich was conspicuous as the centre of Liberal 
tendencies and intellectual progress, whilst Bern was 
the political centre, and the leading financial focus. 2 
T ike a modern Rothschild, Bern then lent to various 
European states. Part of her treasure went towards 
paying the cost of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt. 
Among her sister cities, Freiburg, Solothurn, and 
Lucerne, Hern presented the most perfect example 

' Madame de la Charriere, the novelist, writes: " Nous vivons 
avec eux, nous leur plaisons, quelquefois nous les formons, el ils nous 


1 1m Bernese peasantry had attained unusual wealth by its excellent 
management and the strict administration of its government. 


of an oligarchy, admired by Montesquieu, Napoleon, 
and even Rousseau. Her decided bent was for dipk 
macy, and she was completely absorbed in rule and 
administration, and she had few other tastes. Trade 
and industry she considered beneath her dignity ; 
even literary pursuits to a great extent. The Bernese 
aristocrats were politicians from birth, so to speak, 
and the young men had a curious society amongst 
themselves, " Ausserer Stand," a society formed for 
the purpose of cultivating the diplomatic art and 
practising parliamentary oratory and tactics, espe- 
cially their more formal outward side. Thus trained 
in bearing and ceremonial they acquired their much- 
admired political aplomb. Bern was French in fashion, 
in manners, and in language, and the German tongue 
was as little appreciated amongst the Bernese patri- 
cians as at the Court of Frederick the Great. The 
constitution presents some features quite unique in 
their way. There was an cxclusiveness which has 
lasted in all its force even down to our own days ; 
and three classes of society sprang up, as widely 
separated from each other as the different castes in 
India. All power was vested in the 360 "reigning 
families " ; the number of these was at length, by 
death and clever manipulating, reduced to eighty, 
and even fewer. From these families alone were 
the councils selected, and to the members of these 
only were governorships assigned. If male heirs 
were wanting, then the seats on the council were 
given to the daughters as dowries. So exclusive 
was this governing body, that even Haller, the great 
poet, was not allowed to enter it. The class next 


lower in rank was that of" the ewige habitanten t 

with no political rights, and with not a vestige 
ol power in the commonwealth. They were not 
allowed to hold officerships abroad, but trade, in- 
dustry, and the schools and churches were theirs. 
Lastly came the Ansassige (settlers), the proletariat, 
including the country labourers, foreigners, refugees, 
and commoner folk generally. Many were their dis- 
abilities ; they were not permitted to buy houses, to 
have their children baptised in the city, to have 
tombstones set up over the graves of members of 
their family. 1 They might not even appear in the 
market till their betters had done their business, viz., 
1 1 a.m., and they were strictly forbidden to carry 
baskets in the archways [les arcades de la ville), in 
order that these should not damage the hooped 
petticoats of the patrician ladies. 2 Bern has often 
been compared with ancient Rome, and certainly its 
stern council somewhat resembles in its austerity, 
solemnity, and pomp the august Roman Senate. It 
is not surprising that many attempts should have 
been made to induce the Government to relax its 
severity. In 1744 certain citizens petitioned the 
council to that effect, but were banished for their 
pains. Five years later a famous man named Ilen/.i, 
with several associates, formed a plot against the 
council, but they were detected and executed. 

But in truth there were risings in almost every one 
of the cantons. Of these only the most remarkable 

' Prof. Vbgelin, " Schweizergeschichte," p. 544. 
- See "Die Patrizierin," a recent fascinating novel !>y IVidmann, a 
Bernese writer. 



can be touched on here, those of Geneva. These are 
real constitutional struggles, and, indeed, form the 
preliminaries in their way to the French Revolution, 
on which indeed their history sheds no little light. 
These troubles in Geneva are not unlike those of 
the Gracchi period in Roman history. By the Con- 
stitution of 1536 Geneva had been granted the right 
of a " Conseil General," but this council had never 
been allowed to act or meet. The patricians who 
occupied the haut de la cite had arrogated to them- 
selves well-nigh all power. But as early as 1707, the 
burghers, ever on the alert to regain their liberties, 
rose with the view of re-establishing the General 
Council of 1536. The movement was headed by the 
generous and noble-minded Pierre Fatio, himself a 
patrician. In fiery speeches, made in the open places 
of the town, he championed the popular rights, assert- 
ing with vehemence that the rulers were not the 
masters and tutors of the people, but the executors 
of its sovereign will. The attempt to gain popular 
liberty miscarried, Fatio was shot in prison, and his fol- 
lowers were exiled. Yet Fatio's idea lived on amongst 
the working classes, and later were again advocated 
in the pamphlets of Micheli du Crest. In the years 
1734 and 1737 the insurrections burst out afresh, and 
resulted in the establishment of the Constitution of 
1738, which secured for a quarter of a century a 
happiness it had never before known. 

However, the second half of the century witnessed 
new troubles between the burghers and the patri- 
cians. These latter were called, by way of nickname, 
'' Negatifs," because they denied the people reform, 


whilst the burghers were styled " Representants," 
because they presented petitions for political liberty. 
The artizan class were nicknamed " Natifs." It is 
impossible here to follow closely these " tea-cup 
squabbles," as Voltaire called them, but the philo- 
sopher's sympathies were with the haut de la ville, 
while Rousseau, on the contrary, sided with the bas 
dc la ville. 

Of all the Swiss lands the most equitable and 
righteous government was that enjoyed by Neuchatel, 
under Frederick the Great (1740- 1786) This state 
had of its own free will in 1707 accepted the ducal 
sway of the kings of Prussia, in order to escape the 
grasp of Louis XIV. At one time, however, Frederick 
II. so far forgot himself as to infringe the "states'" 
right of taxation, and the semi-republican duchy at 
once rose in rebellion. Gaudot, the vice-governor, 
Frederick's devoted minister, was shot in the fray 
(1768). Yet, thanks to the monarch's wise modera- 
tion, and the intervention of the Swiss Confederation, 
the storm was calmed, and Neuchatel continued in 
her peaceful and happy condition. It is clear that 
there was in Switzerland plenty of combustible matter, 
needing only the French Revolution to raise a con- 



BARREN and uninviting is the waste of politics in 
Switzerland at this period of our story, and it seemed 
as if the republic was quietly crumbling out of active 
existence. But the literary and scientific renaissance 
runs through it all like a fertilizing stream, and saves 
it from utter sterility. Feeble though it was politi- 
cally, Switzerland yet produced on all sides men of 
mark in science, in literature, in philosophy. Time 
would fail to tell of them all, and we must be 
content to follow briefly the three great currents of 
the movement, which centred respectively around 
Geneva, Zurich, and the Helvetic Society. The two 
former of these may indeed be said to form a part 
(and an important part) of the great general awaken- 
ing of the eighteenth century, an awakening beginning 
with the French " period of enlightenment," and 
crowned by the era of German classicism. Yet the 
French movement itself was based on English influ- 


ence. Just as, at the Restoration, England had copied 
the France of Louis Quatorze, so France in return 
drew intellectual strength from the England of the 
second half of the eighteenth century— England was 
then vastly ahead of the Continent — and brought 
forth the " siecle de la philosophic." Of the great 
Frenchmen who learned in the school of English 
thought, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire stand 
foremost, and of these again Voltaire occupies indis- 
putably the highest place. Voltaire was not only the 
founder, but the very heart of the philosophic school 
which reared its front against the statutes and 
traditions and pretensions of the Church. He had 
drunk deeply of the spirit of Newton and of Locke 
during his exile in England, and spread abroad their 
views and discoveries, assisted by his genius, his 
sparkling wit, his lashing satire, and his graceful style. 
None equally with him naturalized on the Continent 
English free thought and English rationalism. 
Voltaire and Rousseau were as two great beacons 
planted in the century guiding as they would the 
course of philosophy. Both were champions of 
personal freedom and religious tolerance in a 
benighted and down-trodden age. But the influence 
of the two men worked in very different ways, for in 
the one it was based on the head, in the other on the 
heart. Voltaire, the realist, by his venomous and 
even reckless satires on the Church and on Chris- 
tianity, dealt a severe blow to religion at large. 
Rousseau, the idealist, plunged into the mystery of 
good and evil, and was wrecked by the very imprac- 
ticability of his system. 


Voltaire, as is well known, spent the last twenty 
years of his life — his " verte vieillesse" — almost at 
the gates of Geneva, and Rousseau, actually one of its 
citizens, passed the greater part of his life wandering 
abroad, though he loved Geneva so dearly that he 
once fainted with emotion on leaving it. Yet while 
both did battle so to speak from Geneva, neither of 
them was reckoned as a prophet in that city. After 
Voltaire had spent a couple of years at " Les Delices" 
— this was subsequent to his break with the great 
Frederick — he bought Tournay and Ferney, close to 
Geneva, to " keep aloof from monarchs and bishops, 
of whom he was afraid." Ferney, with its pare a la 
Versailles, and its fine castle, he made his residence ; 
and there his niece did the honours of the house to 
the countless visitors who came from all parts to do 
homage to the illustrious " Aubergiste del' Furope," 
as he pleasantly styled himself. It was not the salons 
of Ferney that induced him to reside there, but care 
for his health and a wish to be free from all fear of 

Geneva was not inclined to bow in admiration 
before her famous neighbour, as has been already 
stated. She had by this time become a great 
intellectual centre. Men of science, naturalists, and 
philosophers there congregated, and a reaction against 
the everlasting study of theology, of which the 
fashion had been introduced by the Huguenot 
refugees, having come about, the study of nature 
had taken its place. Whilst France was being 
governed by the Pompadours, Geneva was ruled by a 
society of savants, inclined, it is true, to absolutism 

voltaike's influence. 327 

and narrow Calvinism, but still savants. It is a 
common error to suppose that Voltaire's influence 
took deep root in Geneva. Voltaire set the current 
running for the world at large indeed, but Geneva 
was not specially affected. In truth, most of her 
learned men were disinclined to do more than follow 
Voltaire half way, as it were, into his philosophy, 
whilst some of them, as, for instance, Charles Bonnet, 
were particularly narrow in their views, and were even 
heretic hunters. 1 Voltaire's contest with the city 
authorities respecting the establishing of a theatre is 
a good illustration of his want of real authority and 
influence there. It greatly tickled his fancy to 
seduce the " pedantic city still holding to her old 
reformers, and submitting Jo the tyrannical laws of 
Calvin" from the ancient path, and to make war on 
her orthodoxy. And as part of his plan he deter- 
mined to introduce theatrical performances into the 
city. The ball was set rolling by an article in the 
" Encyclopedic " by D'Alembert, but the arguments 
there adduced in favour of the theatre proved of no 
avail. Rousseau made a furious reply, and averred 
that a theatre was injurious to the morals of a small 
town. In a large city, where the morals were 
already corrupt, it did not signify. The Consistoire 
was in a flutter, for it had pretended that the 
Genevans had a prodigious love for light amuse- 
ments. However, one day Voltaire invited the city 
authorities to " Les Delices," and there treated them 
to a representation of his " Zaire," and it was no 
little triumph to the wily old schemer that his 
Hettner's " French Literature in the Eighteenth Century." 


audience were overcome with emotion. " We have 
moved to tears almost the whole council — Consistory 
and magistrates ; I have never seen more tears," he 
delightedly reports ; " never have the Calvinists been 
more tender! God be blessed! I have corrupted 
Geneva and the Republic." Nevertheless he was 
not to triumph. The theatre at " Les Deliccs " had 
to be closed. He opened his theatre several times 
elsewhere in Genevan territory, and began to draw 
crowds, but in every instance was compelled to close 
again. In truth, it was not till 1766 that Geneva had 
a theatre of its own, and even then it lasted but two 
years. The building was set on fire by some Puritans, 
and, being only of wood, was rapidly consumed. 
Crowds ran to the conflagration, but finding that it 
was only the theatre that was on fire, they emptied 
their buckets, shouting, " Let those who wanted a 
theatre put out the fire ! " " Perruques or tignasses" 
exclaimed Voltaire, with irritation, " it is all the same 
with Geneva. If you think you have caught her, she 

Rousseau (17 12- 1778) was the son of a Genevan 
watchmaker, and received but a very desultory 
education in his early days. Whilst yet but a boy he 
had drunk in the republican and Calvinistic spirit of 
his native town, hence his democratic leanings. He 
was a lover of nature, and fond of solitude, and was 
possessed of a deep religious feeling, even though his 
religion was based on sentiment. He witnessed the 
revolt of 1735-37, ar >d, enfant du peuple as he was, 
rebelled against the tyranny of the patricians, and 
gave vent to his indignation in his writings. He thus 



became the mouthpiece of a down-trodden people 
craving for liberty, of a society satiated with culture. 
His prize essay on " Arts and Sciences " is an answer 
in the negative to the question propounded by the 
Dijon Academy, Whether the New Learning had 
resulted in an improvement to morals. His next 
essay on " L'origine et les fondements de l'inegalite " 


is a sally against the state of society. In it he advo- 
cates a return to the condition of nature, on which 
Voltaire sarcastically retorted, " I felt a great desire 
to go on all fours." " Emile " (1762 , which Goethe 
calls the "gospel of education," declares against the 
hollowness of our distorted and over-refined civiliza- 
tion, and advocates a more rational training based on 


{From a photograph of the statue, at Yverdon, by Lans.) 


nature. And Pestalozzi, pedagogue and philan- 
thropist, though he styled " Emile " a " book of 
dreams," was yet nourished on Rousseau's ideas. 
" Emile" is opposed to deism and materialism on the 
one hand, whilst on the other it objects to revelation 
and miracles, and declares that existing religion is 
one-sided and unable to save mankind from intellectual 
slavery. The excitement the book created was im- 
mense on both sides, and it was publicly burnt both 
at Paris and Geneva. Its author was compelled to 

A similar untoward fate befel the same author's 
famous " Contrat Social," perhaps the most important 
political work of the eighteenth century. In this 
Rousseau advances much further than Montesquieu. 
Indeed the former was a strong Radical, whilst the 
latter might be more fittingly described as a Whig. 
Rousseau advocates republicanism, or rather a demo- 
cracy, as the best form of government; whilst Montes- 
quieu points to the constitutional government of 
England as his model, insisting on the right to 
equality of all before the law. The " Contrat 
Social," as is well known, did much to advance the 
revolutionary cause, and became indeed the text- 
book of the democracy, and formed the principal 
basis of the Constitution of 1793. But Rousseau 
himself was no agitator. On the contrary, when the 
burghers of Geneva rose on his behalf, to save 
" Emile " and the " Contrat " from the flames, he 
hesitated hardly a moment, but begged rhem to 
submit to order, as he disliked disorder and 


His novel, "La Nouvellc Hcloise " (1761), intro- 
duced the romantic element, and opened a new era in 
literature. It was, in fact, a manifesto against a 
bewigged and bepowdered civilization. Poetry was 
invited to withdraw from the salons and come once 
more to live with nature. But this sudden onslaught 
on the stiff conventionalism and narrowness of the 
time was too much, and there ensued an outburst of 
excitement and feeling such as we in our day can 
scarcely realize. A great stream of sentiment poured 
into literature, and gave rise to that tumultuous 
" storm and stress " {Sturm und Drang) period in 
Germany, out of which sprang Schiller's " Rauber " 
(Robbers). Goethe caught up the prevailing tone 
of sentimentality and supersensitiveness in his 
" Werther " (1774). This tearful, boisterous period is 
but the outrush of a nation's pent-up feelings on 
its sudden emancipation from the thraldom of con- 
ventionalism. And it led the way to the golden 
era in German literature, the era of Schiller and 

The brilliant literary court of Madame de Stael at 
Coppet succeeded that of Voltaire at Ferney. Though 
born in Geneva she was in heart a Frenchwoman, and 
her native country but little affected her character. 
" I would rather go miles to hear a clever man talk 
than open the windows of my rooms at Naples to see 
the beauties of the Gulf," is a characteristic speech of 
hers. Yet amongst women-writers Madame de Stael 
is perhaps the most generous, the most lofty, and the 
grandest figure. Her spirited opposition to Napo- 
leon, her exile, her brilliant coterie at Coppet, and 



her famous literary productions, are topics of the 
greatest interest, but as they do not specially concern 
Switzerland, they cannot be more than hinted at 
From the very depression, political and social, 

prevailing in Swiss lands arose the yearning for and 
proficiency in letters and scientific culture which in 
the period now before us produced so prolific a 
literature in the country. And it was not in West 


Switzerland alone that this revival of letters showed 
itself. Basel prided herself on her naturalists and 
mathematicians, Merian, Bernoulli, and Euler ; while 
Zurich could boast of her botanists, Schcuchzer and 
John Gessner. Bern produced that most distinguished 
naturalist, Haller, who was also a poet ; Schaffhausen 
claims Johannes von Muller, the brilliant historian ; 
and Brugg (Aargau) Zimmermann, philosopher and 
royal physician at Hanover. Bodmer and Breitinger 
formed an aesthetic critical forum at Zurich. And 
no country of similar area had so many of its sons 
occupying positions of honour in foreign universities. 
A whole colony of Swiss savants had settled at 
Berlin, drawn thither by the great Frederick , 
others were to be found at Halle. Haller, who 
had lived at Gottingen ever since 1736, likewise 
received an invitation from Frederick, but found 
himself unable to accept it, being greatly averse to 
Voltaire and his influence. A perfect stream of 
Swiss intellect poured into Germany, and by its 
southern originality, greater power of expression, and 
its true German instinct, quickened German nation- 
ality, and witnesses to the fact that there is ever 
passing between the two countries an intellectual 
current. 1 It is impossible within the limits of the 
present volume to do more than touch upon the most 
characteristic literary movements of the period. 

Amongst the upper classes in Switzerland, French 
culture reigned supreme, just as did French fashions, 

1 Switzerland was the cradle of the German drama in the sixteenth 
century ; even the Oberammergau Passion play can be traced to a 
Swiss origin (Bachtold). 


P'rench manners, and it may almost be said, the 
French language. Nevertheless, the Swiss were the 
first to throw off the French supremacy in literature, 
turning rather to England as a more congenial guide 
and pattern. Bodmer speaks of Shakespeare and 
Milton "as the highest manifestations of Germanic 
genius." As for German literature itself, it was still 
in a state of helplessness — what with the Thirty 
Years' War, and the German nobility given over to 
French tastes and French influence — and fashioned 
itself in foreign modes till the close of the Seven 
Years' War, in 1763, when it took the leading 
position it has ever since maintained. 

Bern and Zurich, which had both risen to wealth 
and independence, were stout opponents of the French 
policy. Both cities were homes of the belles lettres, 
and Zurich was agaui a veritable " poets' corner." 
The chief figure there was Bodmer, who wielded the 
literary sceptre in Switzerland and Germany for well- 
nigh half a century. A fellow-worker with him, and 
his well-nigh inseparable companion, was Brcitinger, 
and these two more than any others helped to break 
the French spell. Bodmer (1698-1783 , was the son 
of a pastor of Greifensce, and had himself been at 
first destined for the church, though he was at length 
put to the silk trade. But neither calling could keep 
him from his beloved letters, and in 1725 he became 
professor of history and political science at the 
Zurich Carolinum. His aim was to raise literature 
from its lifeless condition. As far back as 1721,11c 
had joined with Breitinger and others, in establishing 
a weekly journal on the model of Addison's Spectator 


— " Discursc der Maler." Breitinger was professor of 
Hebrew, and later on, canon of the minster of Zurich, 
and was a man of profound learning and refined 
taste. The new paper treated not only of social 
matters, but discussed poetry and belles lettres gene- 
rally. Gottsched (1700-1766), who occupied the 
chair of rhetoric at Leipzig, was supreme as a literary 
critic. His tastes were French, and he held up the 
French classics as models. In his "Critical Art of 
Poetry " (1730), he tries to teach what may be called 
the mechanics of poetry based on reason, and pretends 
that it is in the power of any really clever man to 
produce masterpieces in poetry. In 1732, appeared 
Bodmer's translation of " Paradise Lost," to the 
chagrin of Gottsched, who, feeling that he was losing 
ground, furiously attacked the Miltonian following. 
His mockery of the blind Doet roused Bodmer's 
anger, and he replied with his work the "Wonderful 
in Poetry." A fierce controversy raged for ten years. 
In the name of Milton the young men of talent took 
the side of Zurich, that is, of the German, as opposed 
to the French influence in literature. The result was 
that by the efforts of such men as Haller, Klopstock, 
Wieland, and Kleist, the French influence was ousted 
and the national German influence came to the front. 
Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777), whom Goethe 
calls "the father of national poetry," was the first 
representative of the new school of poets which began 
to turn to nature for inspiration and illustration rather 
than to mere dead forms. His poems on the Alps 
(1732) paint the majestic beauty of the Bernese 
highlands, and contrast the humble and peaceful but 


natural life of the shepherd with the luxurious and 
artificial life of the patrician, and the dweller in cities. 
Haller's writings made a great impression on the 
polite world. 1 Klopstock it was, however, whom 
Bodmer welcomed as the harbinger of a new era, 
as the German Wilton. Klopstock had been trained 
in the Swiss school of thought, and regarded Breitin- 
ger's "Critical Art" as his aesthetic bible, whilst 
Bodmer's translation of "Paradise Lost" inspired his 
epic, " Messiah." The first three cantos appeared in 
the "Bremer Beitrage " in 1748, and created such a 
furore that he was declared to be an immortal poet. 
Wieland's first poems were, in 175 1, published in the 
" Swiss Critic," and met with a reception hardly less 
favourable if somewhat less enthusiastic. A strong 
friendship springing up between Bodmer and the 
young Klopstock, the former offered the poet a 
temporary home at his Tusculum (still standing) on 
the slopes of Zurichberg, that he might go on with 
his great epic. The fine view of the lake and moun- 
tains, the " highly cultivated city beneath," was 
greatly prized by Goethe who sounds its praises in 
"Wahrheit und Dichtung." However, Bodmer was 
disappointed with his young guest, for Klopstock 
loved the society of the young men and young 
women of his own age, and the progress made with 
the " Messiah " was well-nigh nil. Yet it is to 
Klopstock's sojourn there that we owe some of his 

1 Haller, anxious to return to his native land, accepted an inferior post 
as director of salt-mines at Bex (Vaud), Bern, his native town, dis- 
legarding his great merits, declining to offer him either a professorship 
or a seat on the governing board. 



fine odes, especially that on Zurich lake. But mean- 
while Bodmer's friendship had cooled, and Klopstock 
went to the house (in Zurich itself) of Hartmann 
Rahn, who later on married the poet's sister. 
With this same Rahn was some years afterwards 
associated the philosopher Fichte, when he lived at 
Zurich (1788). Fichte in fact married Rahn's 
daughter, Johanna. In 1752, Wieland r repaid 
Bodmer for his previous disappointments, by staying 
with him for some two years. 

Bodmer's zeal for the advance of literature was 
unremitting. Though he could not himself boast of 
much poetic genius, he was a prolific writer in both 
prose and verse. His great merit is his bringing to 
light again the fine old mediaeval poetry long since 
forgotten. The manuscript of the " Minnesanger " and 
the famous " Nib lungen " he had dug up from the 
lumber-room of Hohenems Castle. He moved heaven 
and earth to obtain royal protection and patronage for 
German literature. But little did he gain at the court 
of the great Frederick. To Miiller, who presented 
the " Nibelungen," his majesty replied in characteristic 
fashion that the piece was not worth a single "charge 
of powder." Not less characteristic was Voltaire's 
reply when a request was made for the royal favour 
to Klopstock. " A new ' Messiah ' is too much of a 
good thing, the old one has not been read yet." 

Bodmer's influence on the young man of parts is 
noticeable. He gathered round him a large following 
of young Zurcher who had a taste for letters. 

1 A daughter of Wieland was also married to the son of his great 
friend Gessner, the poet. 


Crowds of them would accompany him in his evening 
walks in the avenue Platzspitz, drinking in his words 
of wit and wisdom. Of the disciples thus gathered 
round " Father " Bodmer — for so he was affectionately 
styled — some attained no little eminence in later life. 
Amongst them we may mention Sulzer, who became 
art professor at Berlin, and stood in high favour- with 
the king ; and Solomon Gessner, the painter poet, 
whose word pictures are hardly less beautiful than the 
productions of his brush. His " Idylls," published in 
1756, gave him a European reputation. The work- 
was translated into all the literary languages, and in 
France and Italy was read with great eagerness, a 
first edition in French being sold out within a fort- 
night. Another important work is Hirzel's " Klein- 
jogg," or the " Socrates of the Fields." In this 
Hirzel, who was a physician and a philanthropist, 
brings to the fore the despised peasantry. " Klein- 
jogg " is not a work of fiction solely, but an account 
of Jakob Gujer who lived in a small Zurich village. 
Jakob was a man of great intelligence, indomitable 
resolution, and practical wisdom, who by his admirable 
management raised a wretched country home into a 
model farm. Goethe, who on a visit ate at his table, 
was delighted with the philosophic peasant, and called 
him " one of the most delicious creatures earth ever 

Heinrich Pcstalozzi, the philanthropist, but better 
known for his efforts in the cause of education, was 
also a Zurich man. His principles of education are 
embodied in his novel of rural life, " Lienhard and 
Gertrude" (1781J. Mis ideas are [tartly borrowed 


from Rousseau, but he failed to realize them in 
practice. The work at once won for Pestalozzi 
European fame. Ludwig Meyer von Knonau, a 
country magnate, was a poet and a painter, and wrote 
"Fables." Johannes Caspar Lavater Bodmer's 


favourite pupil, stirred to their depth the patriotic 
feelings of his countrymen by his famous " Schweizer- 
lieder," which he composed for the Helvetic Society, 
in 1767. Indeed literary tastes seem to have been 
very prevalent amongst the Swiss at that time* 


More of Winkelmann's great work on ^Esthetics 
were sold in Zurich and Basel then would in our 
own day probably be sold in such cities as Berlin and 
Vienna. And Solothurn, we find, produced thrice as 
many subscribers to Goethe's works as the great cities 
just mentioned. 

After Bodmer Lavater became the chief attraction 
at Zurich, and strangers flocked thither in great num- 
bers to see him. He was the founder of the study of 
physiognomy, and his works on it were very largely 
read at the time. Goethe himself joined with 
Lavater in his " Essays on Physiognomy." The 
philosopher's personality being singularly charming 
and fascinating, he was one of the most influential men 
of his time. He was the pastor of St. Peter's church, 
and was full of high religious enthusiasm. He 
desired to take Christianity from its lifeless condition, 
and make it a living thing, and was strongly opposed 
to rationalism— Anglo-French deism — then slowly 
creeping in, notwithstanding severe repressive 
measures against it. Goethe was for many years the 
close friend of Lavater, and carried on with him a 
brilliant correspondence. The great poet, it may be 
stated, paid no fewer than three visits to Zurich, viz., 
in 1775, 1779, and 1797. He considered his inter- 
course with Lavater the " seal and crown " of the 
whole trip to Switzerland in 1779, and calls the 
divine the "crown of mankind," "the best among 
the best," and compares his friendship with " pas- 
tureland on heaven's border." Lavater's later years 
were marked by many eccentricities, and he fell into 
religious mysticism. But his sterling merits will not 
readily be forgotten by the Swiss. 


A word respecting the Helvetic Society must close 
:hc present chapter. This society was founded in 
1762, with the view of gathering together those who 
were stirred by political aspiration. It gradually 
united all those who desired the political regeneration of 
their fatherland, and the most prominent men of both 
East and West Switzerland, and of both confessions, 
joined the new society. The young patriots regularly 
met to discuss methods of improving the country and 
its institutions, and this in spite of the prohibitions of 
a narrow-minded executive, and the close control of 
the press. Stockar's scheme for amalgamating the 
free states into one republic mightily swelled the 
hearts of both Catholic and Protestant, and their 
efforts gave rise to many practical reforms. The 
most prominent result of these efforts was the rise of 
national education. Zurich with its higher schools 
occupied a leading position in the work of reform, 
and Pestalozzi established on his own estate a school 
for the poor. Unfortunately this admirable institu- 
tion failed for want of a proper manager. Later on, 
after the Revolution, when the soil was better pre- 
pared for it, Pestalozzi : s system took vigorous root. 



(1 79O- 1 798.) 

None of our readers will need to be told the story 
of the French Revolution, nor shown that it was the 
natural outcome of previous misgovern men t and 
oppression. Every one has read of the miseries of 
the lower classes — intolerable beyond description ; of 
the marvellous inability of the nobles and clergy to 
see that amidst all their selfishness and pleasures they 
were living on the very edge of a frightful volcano ; 
of the tiers-ctat and its emancipatory movement, 
which, outgrowing its primary intention, brought 
about a scries of stupendous changes ; of Napoleon, 
how he stopped this disorder and how he made all 
Europe into one vast theatre of w? r . All this, in so 
far as it is the history of France, can only be alluded 
to here, but, inasmuch as Switzerland was drag 
into the whirlpool of changes, we must dwell upon 
some of the effects of the great Revolution. Not less 
clearly than in Fiance itself did the cry of " Libcrtc, 

y. 5 


o 'Si 

X ^ 


andigalitel" resound through the Swiss lands, filling 
the hearts of the unfree and the oppressed with high 
hopes. Yet it was only after terrible sufferings and 
endless vicissitudes that the liberal principles of the 
Revolution came to the front, and admitted of that 
practical realization which was to lead up to a nobler 
and happier life for men. 

Of the many popular risings in Switzerland due to 
the influence of France, we may briefly touch on 
those which precede the Bern catastrophe in 1798. 
In September, 1791, Lower Valais rose against the 
landvogte of Upper Valais, but the intervention of 
Bern checked the revolt. In the April of the follow- 
ing year, Pruntrut (in the Bernese Jura) renounced its 
allegiance to the prince-bishops of Basel, and set up 
as an independent territory, under the style of the 
" Rauracian Republic," and three months later the 
widely-extended bishopric itself was amalgamated 
with France as the " Department Mont Terrible." It 
was on August 10th of this same year (1792) that the 
Swiss Guards defending the Tuileries against the 
Paris mob were massacred. Every one knows the 
story. "We arc Swiss, and the Swiss never surrender 
their arms but with their lives," were the proud words 
of Sergeant Blaser to the crowds furious against the 
protectors of royalty, and claiming that their arms 
should be put down. When Louis was in safety, the 
Swiss Guards were withdrawn. But on leaving the 
palace they were suddenly attacked by thousands of 
the mob. Resistance was plainly useless, yet the Swiss 
would not fly, and were ruthlessly slaughtered. Of 
the 760 men and twenty-two officers, but few escaped 


that terrible onslaught. The beautiful and far-famed 
Thorwaldsen monument — the " Lion of Lucerne " — 
with its inscription, " Helvetiorum fidei ac virtuti," 
still keeps up the memory of the heroic courage of 
the Swiss Guards. 1 The outrage aroused intense 
indignation at home, but could not be avenged. The 
subjects of the prince-abbot Beda, of St. Gall, secured 
under his mild rule the abolition of serfdom. His 
successor, Forster, however, refusing the measure his 
sanction, was driven from his see — till he returned 
under Austrian auspices — and a large rural district 
of St. Gall gained autonomy and freedom from the 
rule 01 the abbey in 1797. Geneva saw almost every 
possible change. At one time she was rescued by Bern 
and Zurich, but was, in 1798, absorbed by France. 
The singularly harsh bearing of Zurich towards the 
country districts brought about the widespread insur- 
rection of Stafa, in 1795 ; an insurrection vigorously 
suppressed however. The Italian lordships, severely 
treated by Graublinden, desired to be included in the 
Cis-alpine republic Bonaparte was forming, and the 
general advised that free state that they should be 
admitted into their pale as a fourth member of equal 
rank. Finding that his advice was not taken, he 
suddenly proclaimed the memorable maxim, " that 
no people can be subject to another people without a 
violation of the laws of nature," and joined Valtellina, 
Bormio, and Chiavenna to Lombardy. This arrange- 

1 This grand work of art is carved out of and on the face of an im- 
mense rock, after a model by Thorwaldsen — a wounded lion with a 
broken spear, representing hapless but noble courage. The work was 
executed in 1S21. 


merit he had ratified by the treaty of Campo Formio, 
in 1797, which destroyed the Venetian republic, hand- 
ing it over, indeed, to Austria, France taking the 
Netherlands and Milan as her share of the plunder. 
Few things served to draw the attention of France 
to Swiss lands more than the Helvetic Club at Paris. 
This famous club was founded in 1790, by malcon- 
tents, chiefly from Vaud, Geneva, and Freiburg. They 
were bent on the liberation of Switzerland from 
aristocratic domination, and desirous of assimilating 
the form of government with that of France. This 
suited the French Directory exactly, their aim being 
to girdle France with a strong belt of vassal states. 
Among these Switzerland was to serve as a bulwark, 
or at any rate as a battle-ground, against Austria; and 
France was not without hope of filling her coffres-forts 
with Swiss treasure, now grown, after long years of 
peace, to great dimensions. Amongst the band of 
patriots two men stand out as leaders. One was 
Cesar de La Harpe, a noble-minded and enthusiastic 
Vaudois, who, however, was more concerned for his 
own canton than for Switzerland at large. The other 
was Peter Ochs, of Basel, a shrewd and able man, but 
ambitious, and a creature of France. La Harpe had 
once been taunted by a Bernese noble, who reminded 
him that Vaud was subject to Bern, and this he never 
forgot. Even at the Court of Catherine II. of Russia, 
to which he had been called as tutor to the imperial 
grandchildren, he never forgot his republican prin- 
ciples. In 1797, returning from Russia, and being 
forbidden to enter Vaud, he joined the Helvetic Club 
at Pari-, and thence launched forth his pamphlets 


against Bern. And in the Directory things were 
making against that hapless canton > Rcubcl, a 
declared enemy, gaining a seat. Napoleon too was 
no lover of Bern. On his way to the Congress of 
Rastatt ; in 1797, he passed through Switzerland, and, 


while accepting the enthusiastic welcome offered by 
Basel and Vaud, he declined altogether to respond to 
that of Bern and Solothurn. Peter Ochs enjoyed 
Napoleon's full confidence, and was by him sum- 
moned to Paris, and charged with the drafting of a 


new constitution for Switzerland, on the lines of the 
Director)-. La Harpe and Ochs thus worked towards 
the same end, though the motives of the two men 
differed greatly. 

Vaud hailed with delight the French Revolution, 
and celebrated the fall of Bastille in the most osten- 
tatious manner ; Bern, on the other hand, looked with 
dismay on the march of events, and, in Jan. 1798, 
sent Colonel Weiss with troops into the province. 
France replied by immediately sending men to occupy 
the southern shore of Lake Geneva. This was done 
at the request of the Helvetic Club, which gave as a 
pretext an old treat}- of 1564, by which France gua- 
ranteed her support to Vaud. In vain did Weiss issue 
manifestoes ; Bern was irresolute, and Vaud, feeling 
herself safe under the a^gis of France, proclaimed the 
establishment of the " Lemanic Republic," with the 
seat of government at Lausanne (Jan. 24, 1798). A 
simple accident which resulted in the death of a 
couple of French soldiers was by their general magni- 
fied into an attentat of the " Bernese tyrants " against 
a " great nation." The French troops marched on 
Weiss, ousted him without the necessity of striking a 
blow, and then charged Vaud with a sum of ;£ 28,000 
for services rendered. Such proceedings struck terror 
into the hearts of the Swiss, and many of the cantons 
— Basel, Schaffhausen, Lucerne, &c. — set about re- 
forming their governments. With matters at this 
pass the Diet ordered that the national federal oath 
should be sworn to, a proceeding which had been 
neglected for three hundred years. But this pretence 
of unity was a mere sham, as indeed were all these 


ha^tv attempts at reform. They failed to avert the 
coming storm, as the rulers failed to read aright the 
signs of the times. The Tagsatzung distracted and 
helpless dissolved on Feb. 1st 

In the operations which followed, the chief com- 
mand of the French forces in Switzerland was trans- 
ferred from Mengaud to Brune, a Jacobite of the 
school of Danton. Brune directed his main attack 
on Hern, which, torn by dissensions, was wavering 
between peace and war. With Machiavellian astute- 
ness Brune enticed the city into a truce. This truce, 
which was to last till the 1st of March, was most 
injurious to the interests of Bern, as it allowed time 
both for Brune to increase his own forces, and for 
Schaucnburg to join him with a body of troops from 
Alsace. The Bernese were well-nigh paralyzed, and 
not unnaturally suspected treason amongst their own 
adherents. Unluckily, too, for her, Bern was far from 
popular amongst her sister cantons, and was well- 
nigh left to her own resources. Her chief allies were 
Solothurn and Freiburg, but these surrendered to 
Schauenburg and Brune at the first shock, on March 
2nd. The French troops next marched to Bern, 
destroying on the way the national monument at 
Morat. But Von Grafenried secured a decided victory 
against Brune at Neueneck. On the other hand, 
Ludwig von Erlach, who attempted a stand against 
Schauenburg at Fraubrunnen. quite failed to hold his 
own, and was driven back on Grauholz, a few miles 
from Bern. A life-and-death struggle followed, even 
women and children seizing whatever weapons they 
could and fighting desperately, many of them even 


unto death. For three hours the combat lasted, and 
the Bernese fighting with their old bravery, main- 
tained their honour as soldiers. Old Schultheiss von 
Steiger, " trembling in body, but stout in heart," 
cheered on his men regardless of the hail of bullets 
falling, but harmlessly, around him. Four times did 
the Swiss stand against the terrible onslaught of the 
French, but were at length compelled to yield to a 
force so superior in numbers and tactics to their own. 
And even whilst the clash of arms was still sounding 
the news came that Bern had surrendered. Erlach 
and Steiger fled to the Oberland, intending there to 
resume the combat ; but the troops, mad with suspicion 
that the capitulation was the result of treason, mur- 
dered the former, Steiger narrowly escaping a similar 
fate. On the 5th of March, 1798, the French entered 
Bern in triumph, Brune, however, cautiously keeping up 
strict discipline. On the 22nd of the previous month 
at Lausaune, Brune had caused it to be proclaimed 
that the French came as friends and bearers of freedom, 
and would respect the property of the Sw'ss citizens. 
Notwithstanding this he emptied the treasuries and 
magazines of Bern, and on the 10th and 11th of 
March, sent off eleven four-horse waggons full of 
booty, nineteen banners, and the three bears— which 
they nicknamed respectively Frlach, Steiger, and 
Weiss — the French carried off in triumph. 

Thus fell Bern, the stronghold of the aristocracy, 
and with its fall the doom of Switzerland was sealed, 
though more work remained to be done before it 
would be complete. The Directory now abolished 
the old Confederation, and proclaimed in its stead the 


"one and undivided Helvetic Republic," forcing on it 
a new constitution elaborated from the draft by Peter 
Ochs. Brune himself had had a scheme for a triple 
di vision of the territory, but a preference was given 
to a united republic, as more easily manageable from 
Paris. The thirteen old cantons, together with the 
various subject lands and connections were formed 
into twenty-two divisions. After the failure of the 
laender the number was reduced to nineteen, the three 
Forest Cantons with Zug being thrown into one, as a 
punishment. Some of the rearrangements and par- 
titions were very curious. A few may be cited. 
Oberland Canton was lopped off from Bern, and 
Baden from Aargau proper. Santis included Ap- 
penzell and the northern portion of St. Gall, and 
Linth comprised the rest of St. Gall and Glarus: 
Tessin was split into Bellinzona and Lugano ; Vaud, 
Valais, and Btinden were added intact. Geneva and 
Neuchatel were left outside. In this manner the 
united Helvetic commonwealth was formed, the 
central government being fixed at Aarau, Lucerne, 
and Bern in succession. The passing of laws was 
vested in a senate and great council. There was a 
Directory of five members to whom were added four 
ministers of state — for war, justice, finance, and art 
and science. A supreme court of justice was made 
up of nineteen representatives, one from each canton. 
These were sweeping changes, and the unadvised 
manner in which they were forced on the people 
prevented their meeting with general approval. And 
then France gained the hearty dislike of the Swiss 
generally by her treatment of the country. Switzer- 

REDIXG. 353 

land was regarded as a conquered and subject land, 
and was ruthlessly despoiled by the French. A con- 
tribution of sixteen million francs was imposed on the 
Swiss aristocracy — besides the eight million francs 
carried off from B;rn at her fall. 1 

Ten cantons, notably Bern, Zurich, Lucerne, and 
Vaud, i.e., the city cantons, feeling that resistance was 
impossible, and reform was necessary, acquiesced in 
the new arrangement ; but the laender, except 
Obwalden, stirred up by the priests and local patriots, 
and fearing that religion and liberty would die to- 
gether, offered a most uncompromising resistance. 
They preferred, they said, " to be burnt beneath their 
blazing roofs, rather than submit to the dictates of 
the foreigner." Very noble was the defence made by 
:he Forest folk, but we can only touch briefly upon it. 
After a brave resistance Glarus was defeated at 
Rapperswyl, on the 30th of April, 1798, and then 
Schauenburg proceeded with his whole strength 
against Schwyz. In its defence a band of some four 
thousand stout-hearted men was collected under the 
command of Reding, a young and handsome officer, 
who had just returned from Spanish service. Reding 
was an enthusiastic patriot of the old stamp, deeply 
imbued with conservative principles. Men rallied to 
his standard eagerly, and swore a solemn oath, " not 

' The exact sum paid by Bern is not known, but probably it reached 
seven or eight million francs. The Bernese losses, up to 1S13, were 
estimated at seventeen million francs. One hundred and sixty cannon, 
and sixty thousand muskets were also captured. Bern had kepi three 
rangraben of the town) ever since the battle of, 
in 1513. Strangely enough the bears carried off in that battle were 
French trophies. 



to flee, but conquer." Reding and his little army 
gained three brilliant victories, at Schindellegi, Arth, 
and Morgartcn, respectively, showing themselves 
worthy descendants of the old heroes of 131 5. How- 
ever, the French effected an entrance by way of Mount 

Etzel, through the failure of the priest Herzog to hold 
his own against them, and poured through the gap in 
overwhelming numbers. For the moment they were 
thrust back at Rothenthurm, but Schwyz was too 
exhausted to continue the unequal struggle, and 


Reding was forced to enter into negotiations, though 
negotiations of an honourable character, with Schauen- 

Then followed the gloomy 9th of September, 
written down as " doomsday " in the annals of Nid- 
walden, 1 a day that well-nigh blotted that semi- 
canton out of existence. Having set up a wild 
opposition to the " Helvetic," this district drew down 
upon itself the wrath of France. Animated by the 
spirit of YVinkelried, one and all — its worthy sons, 
its women and children even — the little band — they 
were but two thousand as against sixteen thousand — 
for some days kept up the unequal struggle. The little 
bay of Alpnach (Alpnacher See) and the Wood of 
Kerns (Kernserwald) were red with the blood of the 
enemy. But this state of things could not last long. 
Suddenly the French broke through, and poured in 
from all sides. Terrible conflicts took place at 
Rotzloch and Drachenried, and a rush was made on 
Stanz, the chief place of the district. By noon this 
town was really taken, but notwithstanding this the 
combat continued in furious fashion till evening. 
This was the 9th of September, 1798, a day which 
Schauenburg called the hottest of his life. " Like 
furies," the report says, " the black legion of the 
French galley-slaves slew and raged the district 
through." When night set in Stanz looked a de- 
vastated, smoking city of blood and death. Europe 

' The mountain range, running from Titlis north-west and then 
north-easl to Stanzer Horn, with the Kernwakl lining its western side, 
separate-, Unterwaldi n into ( fbwalden and Nidwalden. 


looked with amazement, yet with admiration and 
sympathy, on this heroic spot of earth. Both 
England and Germany sent provisions and money, 
and even Schauenburg was moved with compassion 
towards the poor Nidwaldner, and had food dis- 
tributed to them. It may perhaps here be noted that 
Stanz shortly figures again in Swiss history, but this 
time in a far more peaceful and humane manner. It 
was here that Pestalozzi resumed his noble work of 
education. To heal the wounds of his noble country 
as far as was in his power the minister Stapfer 
founded an educational establishment for the orphan 
children of the district. And here it was that 
Pestalozzi ruled, not so much as a mere pedagogue, 
but as a veritable father, the little unfortunates 
committed to his care. 




The day of the "one and undivided Helvetic 
Republic" was a period of "storm and stress," short- 
lived, full of creative ideas and vast schemes, with 
much struggling for what was most noble in the 
principles of the Revolution. Yet Helvetia was torn 
by inner dissensions, and its energies paralysed by 
civil and foreign war, by its position of dependence, 
and by financial difficulties. The Helvetic scheme of 
pounding the various members of the Confederation 
into one state wiping out the cantons — a scheme often 
planned since then, but to this day unrealized, and as 
yet unrealizable — by its inevitable levelling tendencies, 
roused intense disgust and hatred amongst the more 
conservative of the Swiss. In truth, it went too fast, 
and too far in the direction of centralization. The 
laender were robbed of their landsgemeinde, the city 
cantons of their councils, and the independent states 
of their sovereignty. Everything seemed to be turned 


topsy-turvy. Cantons became mere administrative 
districts. 1 The barriers between them, and likewise 
between the various classes of society, were broken 
down. Subject lands were recognized as equal in 
status to the rest, and the inhabitants given full rights 
of citizenship. Amongst the many beneficent 
measures brought forward the principal may be 
mentioned. All restrictions on trade and industry 
were removed, tithes, bondservice, and land taxes 
could be redeemed at a small cost ; freedom in 
religious matters, freedom of the press, and the right 
to petition were guaranteed, and torture was sup- 
pressed. That child of the Revolution, " the 
Helvetic," indeed, advocated many reforms and gave 
birth to many new ideas which required time and 
thought and peace to bring to maturity and useful- 
ness. But the time was not yet ripe, and peace was 
lacking, and many things were suggested rather than 
put into practice. Yet we look back with interest on 
many of the ideas of the time, for the}* paved the 
way for and led up to much of our modern progress. 
Excellent men, men of parts, wise and moderate, 
watched over the eariy days of the young republic ; 
amongst them Usteri, Escher (Von der Linth), 
Glayre (Vaud), Bay, Kuhn and Stapfer (Bern). But 
gradually French partisans, nominated from Paris, 
were returned to the Swiss Directory, and Ochs and 

1 The utter failure clearly shows how little such a centralization of 
government, leaving the cantons no scope for action, could suit the 
separate states of the Confederation at any time. The name "canton" 
was first used in French treaties with Switzerland, and became thence- 
forward the general term. It had not come into use even so late as 
the Helvetic. 


La Harpe were promoted to the leadership of 
Helvetic affairs. Soon a " reign of terror " — of a 
milder form, perhaps, but none the less a rule of 
terrorism — was set up, with the view of dragooning 
the country into submission to the " grande nation? 
A levy was enforced in order to make up a total of 
eighteen thousand men, a number the Swiss were 
loth to produce for the foreigner. They objected to 
this forced service, and took up arms abroad, whilst 
men like Lavater and Reding, who defied both 
French tyranny and " Helvetic " despotism, were 
transported, or thrust into the filthy dungeons of the 
fortress of Aarburg. On the 19th of August, 1798, 
was concluded the fatal Franco- Helvetic Alliance — 
offensive and defensive — despite the supplications and 
warnings of the more far-seeing patriots, such as Escher 
(von der Linth) for instance. Swiss neutrality being 
thus abandoned, the door was opened to the Austro- 
Russian invasion, planned by the second European 
coalition with the view of ousting France from Swiss 
territory. Hating the new regime exasperated at 
French supremacy and French extortion, and desirous 
that the status quo ante of 1798 should be re-estab- 
lished, the reactionists hailed with delight the coming 
of the Austrians, quite as much as the " Patriots " had 
before welcomed the interference of France. A legion 
of Swiss emigre's abroad collected by Rovcrea, a 
Vaudois, who had sided with Hern in the previous 
struggle, joined the Austrian army. The foreign 
occupation which took place and turned Switzerland 
into one military camp cannot be followed in all its 
details here. Vet one or two points must be noted, 


above all, those remarkable Alpine marches carried 
out, though against his own will, by Suwarow. These 
marches are quite unique in military history. 

After the defeat of the French in Southern Ger- 
many, the Tyrol, and Italy, by the Archduke Charles, 
Hotze, and Suwarow, they were to be driven out of 
Switzerland. Marshal Massena, who had succeeded 
Schauenburg in the command of the French troops, 
had at the commencement of the war seized Grau- 
biinden, and forced it, free state though it was, to join 
the Helvetic Republic to which it so strongly ob- 
jected. But in May, 1799, !t was recaptured by 
Hotze, a gallant swordsman of Swiss birth ; l who 
had risen to the rank of field-marshal in the Austrian 
army. Hotze drove the French from the central 
highlands, Roverea likewise taking a prominent part 
in the expedition. About this time the Archduke 
Charles entered Switzerland at Schaffhausen, and, 
carrying all before him, advanced to Zurich. This 
city, after various skirmishes in its neighbourhood, 
he seized on the 4th of June, forcing Massena to 
retire to the heights beyond the Limmat river. But 
now a cessation of hostilities intervened for some 
months, owing to differences between Austria and 
Russia, and with this came a change of tactics. Arch- 
duke Charles withdrew, and his place was taken by 
Korsakow with a Russian army forty thousand strong. 
A plan was now agreed upon under which Suwarow 
should join Korsakow from Italy, and they should 
then combine their forces in a grand attack on the 
French, on September 26th. This Massena was 

1 lie was a native of a large village in the Zurich district. 


determined to prevent. By admirable manoeuvring he 
disposed his eight divisions about Eastern and Central 
Switzerland, his force amounting to no fewer than 
seventy-five thousand men. The highlands of Schwyz, 
Uri,and Glarus, were held by Lecourbe, a skilled strate- 
gist, thoroughly at home in the Alps, and the entrance 
to the St. Gothard pass was blocked. Marshal Soult 
gave battle to Hotze in the marshy district between 
Lake Zurich and Walensee, on the 25th of September, 
with the result that Hotze was slain, and the Austrian 
force retired from Swiss soil. Wherever the Austrians 
had gained a footing, the reactionists had taken ad- 
vantage of it to re-establish the status quo. On the 
25th and 26th of September, Massena attacked the 
Russian forces under Korsakow, at Zurich. This 
second battle of Zurich — the fighting was continued 
(from outside) into the very streets — resulted in the 
complete defeat of Korsakow. Fortunately the city 
itself, having remained neutral, escaped violent treat- 
ment, but Lavater was unfortunate enough to be struck 
by a shot during the engagement, whilst carrying help 
to some wounded soldiers. 1 

Quite unaware of what was being done in Switzer- 
land, Suwarow reached the heights of St. Gothard 
on the 24th of September, and, finding the pass occu- 
pied by the enemy, cut his way through in brilliant 
style. Whilst some of the Russians — at Teufels- 
briicke, for instance — held in check the French, the 
larger portion of their army scrambled down the 

' He lingered on suffering from his wound U<r a whole year, and then 
died, distinguished to the very last by his love for all mankind, and for 


steep rocks lining the Reuss, amidst the French fire. 
Wading across the rapid torrent they hurried down 
the valley to Fliielen, intending to push on to Lucerne 
and Zurich. But to their great dismay they found 
no road skirting Uri lake, and all the boats removed. 
They were thus locked up in a labyrinth of mountain 
fastnesses, the outlets from which were blocked by 
their foes. In this desperate strait there was nothing 
for it but to proceed over the mountains as best they 
might, by any rough path which might present itself. 
In reality, however, these passes were no highroads 
for armies, but only narrow paths used by occasional 
shepherds or huntsmen. Devoted to their leader, the 
Russian troops toiled up from the sombre Schachen- 
thal, and along the rugged Kinzig pass, pursued by 
their enemies. On reaching Muotta they learned the 
disheartening news that Korsakow had been defeated. 
No wonder that down the weather-beaten face of the 
brave old general, the tears rolled as he gave the 
order to retreat. But Suwarow was not inclined to 
sit still and repine, and undaunted by his recent 
terrible struggle against nature, at once resumed his 
march across the toilsome Pragel pass into the canton 
ofGlarus, where he had good hopes of finding Austrian 
friends. But on his arrival he learnt that the Austrians 
had left the neighbourhood. Thus baffled once more, 
and unable to get to the plains at Naefels on account 
of the enemy, he was compelled to retreat again, and 
again attempt the terrible passage across the moun- 
tains. Striking across the Panixcr pass, which rises 
to the height of eight thousand feet, he found himself 
confronted by greater difficulties than before. Snow 


had lately fallen, and all traces of the path had disap- 
peared. For five terrible days the force decimated, 
dying with cold, hunger, and fatigue, unshod — their 
boots were entirely worn out — struggled along those 
wintry regions, creeping like caterpillars up walls of 
snow and over icy peaks. Hundreds of men and horses 
fell into the hidden crevices, down which also many a 
piece of artillery fell with sudden crash. Fully one- 
third of the gallant band perished during that fearful 
passage. The worn and famished survivors reached 
Graubiinden on the 10th of October, and thence made 
their way into Austrian territory. Suwarow had 
failed, but immortal glory attaches to the memory 
of the dauntless and resolute old general. The non- 
success of the foreign invasions meant also the failure 
of the reactionists in their attempt to overthrow the 
" Helvetic Republic." 

Indescribable misery was the consequence of the 
foreign wars, and it was intensified by the French 
occupation, and especially by the disgraceful system 
of spoliation practised by the French generals and 
agents, Mengaud, Lecarlier, Rapinat, &c. A few 
examples of the treatment Switzerland received at 
the hands of the French " liberators " may be given. 
Urserenthal, one of the Uri valleys, was called upon 
during the year Oct. 1798 to Oct. 1799, to provide 
food for a total of 861,700 men, and a petty 
hamlet in Freiburg for twenty-five thousand, within 
half a year. During four months, Thurgau spent 
ono and a half million francs, and the Baden 
district well-nigh five millions, in provisioning French 
troops within a year. All protestations of inability 


on the part of the inhabitants were useless ; Rapinat x 
and others, like vampires, sucked the very life-blood 
out of the unfortunate Swiss. The " Helvetic Re- 
public " had its noble side, it is true, but the French 
occupation, by which it was maintained, and which 
indeed was the outcome of it, caused the Helvetic 
scheme to be regarded by the people at large with 
disgust and hatred. 

The brightest side of the " Helvetic Republic " was 
seen in the remarkable efforts of noble patriots — 
foremost amongst them Rengger and Stapfer — to miti- 
gate the effects of all these calamities by promoting, 
in spite of all difficulties, or against all odds of the 
time, the material and ideal interests of the people. 
Both Rengger and Stapfer were highly cultivated 
men, and both were ministers of state, the former 
holding the portfolio of finance, the latter that of arts 
and sciences. Rengger directed his efforts to the 
improvement of trade and agriculture ; one of his 
practical efforts being the introduction of English 
cotton-spinning machines. Stapfer, on the other hand, 
worked for the spread of popular education. " Spiritual 
and intellectual freedom alone makes free," he main- 
tained. He himself had been born in one of the new 
enfranchised subject lands, it may be noted parenthe- 
tically. He drew up a remarkable scheme of national 
education, a scheme embracing the child in the 

1 The following lines, common in men's mouths afterwards, tell their 
/--•n tale : — 

" La Suisse q"' »n pille el qu'on mine 
Voudrait bien que I'on decidal 
Si Rapinat vienl de rapine, 
Ou rapine de Rapinat. " 


primary school, and the young man in the National 
University. This dream of a national university, by 
the way, is still unrealized, 1 but Stapfer intended that 
it should crown his whole system of national educa- 
tion, and should combine German depth with French 
versatility and Italian taste. Most of Stapfer's grand 
scheme remained untried through want of means and 
time, but it was a very remarkable scheme for that 
day. Yet much was done. Numerous schools sprang 
up, and every canton had its educational council and 
its inspector of schools. Lucerne, which had hitherto 
been quite behindhand in these matters, now founded 
schools in all its communes (by 1801 ), and Aarau estab- 
lished a gymnasium. Some four thousand children from 
the wasted and ruined country districts were brought 
into the towns and educated ; whilst numerous journals 
were started, and many literary and art societies 
founded. Perhaps Stapfer's chief title to honourable 
remembrance is his appreciation of, and his assistance 
to, Pestalozzi. Leaving Stanz on account of confes- 
sional differences, the great philanthropist established 
his famous school at Burgdorf, winning for himself 
by it European renown. 

These noble efforts towards national advancement 
intellectually are the more admirable as the country 
was convulsed with constitutional struggles. From 
the first days of the Revolution, there had sprung up 
two political schools, the Centralists, who - wished to 
see one single state with one central government ; and 

1 And not very likely to be realized, as the respective cantons cling 
to their six universities and one academy, which are their pride. Two 
universities have sprung into existence during the present year (1890). 

2 In German. Centralisten or Unitarier. 


the Federalists, who clung to the historical traditions 
of their fatherland, and to the status quo ante of 1798. 
These latter desired to see cantonal self-government 
preponderating over the central authority. It was a 
struggle to the death between advanced Liberals and 
stout Conservatives. Within the short space of five 
years, the country saw no fewer than four coups a"ctat, 
complete overthrowings of government and constitu- 
tion. We can notice only the chief points in the 
history of these changes. The first shock came with 
the change in France from the Directory to the 
Consulate, and the return of Napoleon from Egypt, 
on the 9th of November, 1798. Ochs, detested as the 
tool of France by nearly all the Swiss, was hurled 
from his eminence ; and La Harpe following suit, the 
Swiss Directory was replaced by an executive com- 
mittee. The Peace of Luneville, February, 1801, left 
the Swiss free to chose their own form of govern- 
ment, but Napoleon himself gradually went over to 
the Federalist view. Drafts of new constitutions fol- 
lowed each other in quick succession, each in its turn 
being upset by that which followed. The sketch of 
La Malmaison, drawn up by the Federalists, restored 
the Tagsatzung, and the independence of the cantons, 
May, 1 80 1. Another overthrow, and then Alois 
Reding rose to the position of first Landammann, and 
head of the Conservative government (Oct. 28, i8oi\ 
Chivalrous and of unflinching resolve, Reding lacked 
the pliancy necessary for a statesman, and desired 
to see Vaud again placed under the rule of Hern. 
" Sooner shall the sun turn from west to cast," 
fiercely exclaimed Napoleon, "than Vaud shall go 


back to Bern." Reding was deprived of his office, 
and shut up at Aarburg, a fate that befell him on 
several other occasions under Bonaparte. In July, 
1802, Napoleon withdrew the French troops from 
Swiss territory, with the view ostensibly of complying 
with the treaty of Amiens, but in reality to show the 
Swiss how powerless they were without his help. 
This was the signal for a general outbreak of civil 
war, humorously called Stccklikrieg, or Guerre mix 
batons, in allusion to the indifferent equipment of the 
soldier}-. The Helvetic Government which was then 
in power fled from Bern, and took up its quarters at 
Lausanne. Its small force was defeated at Avenches 
by the Federalists, who pushed on to the Leman city, 
when an order to lay down their arms reached them 
from Paris. Through the medium of General Rapp, 
Napoleon offered his services as "mediator" in the 
civil troubles of Switzerland, and at his heels followed 
Marshal Ney, with an army of forty thousand men to 
enforce order. 




FROM a constitutional point of view this period — 
the mediation period (1803-13) — is the most satis- 
factory portion of the epoch between the French 
revolutions of 1789 and 1830. It suited Napoleon's 
fancy to assume the position of a directing providence 
to the Alpine lands. And, finding that the federalists 
and the centralists of Switzerland — the laudatores 
temporis acti and the progressivists — were quite unable 
to agree upon a compromise, it pleased him to give 
the country a new constitution. He stopped their 
squabbles by summoning the " Helvetic Consulta" to 
Paris. Sixty-three deputies, of whom but fifteen were 
federalists, obeyed the call, many of the foremost 
statesmen among them. Those who disobeyed the 
summons, like Reding and his party, were arrested 
(Nov., 1803). In the official gazette Napoleon was 
pleased to speak of the Swiss nation as one that had 
"always stood out in history as a model of .strength, 



courage, and good manners," and he expressed a wish 
that the Swiss should " aim at good government, and 
should sacrifice their party feelings to their real 
interests, to glory, and independence." Thus com- 
plimentary was his language, and the painstaking 
care and thoughtful consideration he brought to 
bear on the re-organization of Swiss affairs presents 
the great despot under a singularly amiable aspect ; 
and the Mediation Act which he drew up would, but 
for the selfish arriere pensce running through it, be one 
of his noblest and most beneficent political acts. 

From the drafts and data presented by the Con- 
ference Napoleon, in two months (Nov. 25th-Jan. 
24th), drew up his famous scheme. Laying it fifst 
before the whole assembly, he then had selected an 
inner committee of ten for a further and final con- 
sultation. This took place on Jan. 29th at the 
Tuileries, the sitting lasting from one o'clock to eight 
in the evening. The French commissioners 1 after- 
wards stated that they had never witnessed such a 
scene, and that " never had the First Consul devoted 
such close attention, even to the most important 
matters of European politics." The Swiss party, 
representing both the political sections, and the four 
French Commissioners, sat round the table, NapoleOn 
himself in the middle of them, beaming with graceful 
amiability. The proposals respecting the three classes 
of cantons were read out, and two of the delegates, 
Stapfer of whom we have heard before, and Hans von 

1 Barthclemy, Roderer, Fouche, and Desmeunier. 


Reinhard, 1 were called upon to express their respec- 
tive views. A general discussion followed, the Consul 
giving- the closest attention to every detail. His own 
speeches showed an intimate acquaintance with Swiss 
matters, and whilst full of practical wisdom, also 
evidenced his real interest and sympathy with the 
little republic. He pointed out that Switzerland was 
quite unlike any other country in its history, its 
geographical position, in its inclusion of three 
nationalities and three tongues. The characteristics 
and the advancement of three nations had, in fact, to 
be considered and maintained. Nature itself had 
clearly intended that it should be a federal state. To 
the* Forest Cantons, to which he avowed the whole 
republic owes its characteristic hue, he restored the 
time-honoured landsgemeinde, " so rich in memories of 
the past " ; to the city cantons he gave back their 
ancient councils, re-fashioned in accordance with 
modern ideas ; and to the subject lands he gave 
autonomy. The position of these last in the past 
was, he averred, incompatible with the modern 
character of a republic, and his elevation of them into 
new cantons is the special merit of his scheme. 
Meeting the views of the federalists by giving inde- 
pendence or home-rule to each canton, he also met 
those of the centralists by planning a well-organized 
central government in the form of a Tagsatzung with 
enlarged powers. At the head of this he placed 
a Swiss Landammann with almost plein pouvoir. 

1 This Hans von Reinhanl was burgomaster of Zurich and Landam- 
mann ; he belonged to one of the old aristocratic families of bis native 


Napoleon selected as first Landammann a man he 
highly esteemed — Louis d'Affry, of Freiburg, son of 
Count d'Affry. Both father and son had served in 
France as officers and statesmen, and Louis was one 
of the few who had escaped the massacre at Paris in 
1792. He was a perfect courtier, mild and con- 
servative in his views. It is worth mentioning that 
during the intermezzo, which occurred at five o'clock, 
when refreshments were handed round, the Consul, 
standing by the mantelpiece, with a circle of dele- 
gates round him, talked incessantly on Swiss politics 
and spared no pains to impress on his hearers how 
much Swiss interests were bound up with those of 
France. There was no mistaking his meaning, which, 
to do him justice, he did not attempt to conceal. 
The members of the Conference, whom Xapoleon 
treated all through with marked distinction, were 
quite alive to the danger threatening their country, 
but trusted that some turn of the wheel might avert 
it. After this parley the Consul redrafted the 
Mediation Act, and presented it in person on the 
19th of February for signature, afterwards taking 
leave of the whole deputation. 

La Harpe gained for the Swiss the countenance 
of the Emperor Alexander, and Prussia and Austria 
were engaged in a territorial squabble, and no inter- 
ference took place. An epoch of peace and prosperity 
followed the general amnesty (April 15, 1803) granted 
by the Mediation Act. The period of quiet was 
broken only by the Bockenkrieg in 1804, a rising in 
which an attempt was made by the country folk of 
the Zurich Canton to stand against the unredeemed 


land rents and tithes still due to the city. 1 The 
insurrection was put down by force. 2 Six new can- 
tons were formed by the new Act — Biinden, St. Gall, 
Thurgau, Aargau, Yaud, and Ticino ; and these were 
added as equals to the thirteen Alte Orte, the manage- 
ment of its own affairs being granted to each. The 
liberal principles inaugurated by the " Helvetic " were 
to a great extent borne in mind, though the lower 
orders were still excluded from direct political repre- 
sentation. Mercenary wars, military movements, and 
leagues between separate cantons, were strictly for- 
bidden : but so, also, was forbidden the maintenance 
of a federal army, save a small force to maintain 
order, and thus the country was robbed of adequate 
means of defence. Freiburg, Bern, Soleure, Basel, 
Zurich, and Lucerne, became in their turns managing 
or dictatorial cantons for one year at a time. That 
isr they were the seats of the Diet, and their chie 
magistrate — schultheiss or burgomaster, as the case 
might be — became Landammann. To the larger 
cantons, i.e., those having not less than one hundred 
thousand inhabitants, two votes at the Diet were 

1 The liquidation of this territorial debt was a most complicated 
matter, and plays an important part in the risings of the rural districts, 
yet the rightly cautious city had to consider various other interests 
besides those of the country folks. Many benevolent city institutions 
for the sick and poor were maintained by the income drawn from country- 

- "It is meet that the country districts should cease their antipathy 
to the city, or they deserve to fall again under its authority," Napoleon 
had remarked, during the Paris Conference, to the Zurich representatives, 
Reinhard and I'aul [Tsteri. He added that the personal character of 
the representatives was a guarantee that they would reconcile the two 
parties they represented. 


assigned, to the smaller, one vote. It is not necessary 
to go into more minute details here, as there are 
numerous constitutional changes to be noted between 
that period and the year 1874. 

Thus, whatever may be thought of Napoleons 
ultimate aims, it was owing to him that Switzerland 
enjoyed quiet, prosperity, and perfect self-government 
at a time when Europe generally was torn by quarrels 
and steeped in war. The Swiss people gave their 
whole attention to home affairs, and to the striving 
after intellectual and material progress, as they had 
done in the Helvetic days, but now with more success. 
Benevolent societies were founded, high schools 
established, and institutions for the advancement of 
letters, science, and art, sprang up. Many men of 
note mightily stirred the ideal side of life ; amongst 
them we may mention the novelist, Zschokke, 1 of 
Aargau ; Martin Usteri, the poet-artist ; and George 
Nageli, the Sangervater, or " Father of Song." Both 
these latter were of Zurich, and Nageli gave a great 
impulse to the founding of musical societies, and 
did much to spread the art of singing so common 
in the German districts, and especially cultivated at 
Basel and Zurich. Pestalozzi established a new 
school at Yverdon in Vaud ; and his friend and former 
pupil, Von Fellenberg, of Bern, the superior of his 
master in practical management, founded his famous 
institution at Hofwil. This comprised a whole series 
of schools, high schools, schools for the middle class, 
agricultural schools, and elementary schools for the 
poor. Pater Girard, a friend of Pestalozzi, at Frei- 

1 A German by birth. 


burg, did- for the Catholics much what these men did 
for the Protestants. Another noble and devoted 
man was Escher, who, though of aristocratic birth 
himself, was yet an ardent worker for the benefit 
of the poorer classes. His chief work was the canali- 
zation of the Linth between Walensee and the Lake 
of Zurich, by means of which some twenty-eight 
thousand acres of unhealthy swamp became valuable 
agricultural land. For this labour of love, to which he 
sacrificed his health, the Diet decreed to him and his 
family the honourable addition of " Von der Linth." T 
The introduction of machinery gave a great impetus 
to trade and industry. In 1800 the cloisters of St. 
Gall were turned into the first Swiss spinning mill, 
and during the following decade four more mills were 
started in the canton. In 1808 Hcinrich Kunz, the 
" King of spinners on the Continent," laid the foun- 
dations (Zurich) of the first of his numerous mills. 
In 18 1 2 the great firm of Rieter and Co., whose 
machines soon gained a world-wide reputation, 
started business at Winterthur. 

Yet all was not smooth in the little Swiss state. 
Switzerland was compelled not only to enter into a 
close defensive alliance with France, but to keep 
the French army constantly supplied with sixteen 
thousand Swiss soldiers. So great was the drain of 

' Escher died soon after the completion of the Linth Canal (rS22), 
and the Diet erected to his memory a monument in Glarus Canton. 
A characteristic story respecting him is worth repeating. Some poor 
man seeing him standing hard at work up to his waist in water ex- 
claimed, "Why, sir. if I were as rich as you, I shouldn't work at all." 
"That's just why God has given you no wealth," was Escher's quiet 


this " blood-tax," that in some cantons even the 
prisons had to be opened to enable the levy to be 
made up. Switzerland was made an entrepot for 
English contraband goods ; and the decree of Trianon, 
in 1810, ordered the confiscation of these, and placed 
a tax on English goods of half their value. All this 
weighed heavily on Switzerland, and the Landam- 
mann's touching representation to Napoleon, that 
twenty thousand families were rapidly becoming 
breadless, passed unheeded. In 1806 the despot gave 
Neuchatel to his favourite general, Berthier, and in 
1 810 he handed over Ticino to Italy, on the pretext 
that that district was harbouring English contraband 
goods. The same year he joined to France the 
Yalais district, where he had a few years earlier 
(1802) constructed the famous Simplon road into 
Italy. The Swiss naturally protested against these 
mutilations, but he threatened to annex the whole 
country, and D'Affry and Reinhard, who stood in 
favour with him, had much ado to calm his temper. 
When, however, the impetuous Sidler, of Zug, and the 
heroic Reding, defied him, and advised an armed 
resistance at the Diet, Napoleon sent word to Rein- 
hard that he would march fifty thousand men into 
the country, and compel the Swiss to unite with 

But the tide was beginning to turn ; Napoleon had 
passed his zenith. The fatal Russian expedition, 
into which his pride and reckless ambition tempted 
him in 18 12, was followed by the terrible disaster of 
Leipsic, " the battle of the nations." The allied 
armies marched to Paris, and compelled the abdi- 


cation of the emperor. This turn of events naturally 
affected the position of the Swiss very greatly, but, 
quite content with their new constitution, they 
declined to join the allied states. At the command 
of the Landammann, Von Reinhard, General von 
Wattenwil placed his scanty forces, numbering some 
fifteen thousand men, along the frontier to enforce 
neutrality if possible. But on the approach of the 
allied forces Wattenwil saw that resistance would be 
madness, and gave orders to his men to withdraw, 
and be careful not to provoke hostilities. About 
Christmas time in 1813, the combined Austrian and 
German troops— Alexander was for sparing the Swiss 
— to the number of one hundred and seventy 
thousand, marched right across the country on their 
way to the French capital. On the whole little 
material injury was done to the country, but the 
Mediation Act, by the very reason of its origin, was 
bound to fall. On the 29th of December the Diet was 
compelled to decree its own extinction. The Peace 
of Paris, on the 31st of May in the following 
year, guaranteed Switzerland its independence. A 
new constitution was to come later on. 

The overthrow of the Mediation Act plunged 
Switzerland into fresh troubles. All the reactionary 
elements came to the surface. Bern revived her old 
pretensions to the overlordship of Vaud and Aargau ; 
and Freiburg, Solothurn, Lucerne, and the Forest 
Cantons, acting on the same lines, supported Bern 
in her claims. Zurich, on the other hand, stood out 
for the nineteen canton-,, and headed the opposition 
*o Bern. Again there was seen the deplorable 


spectacle of a divided state, with two confederations 
and two diets. One of these, with its headquarters 
at Lucerne, was, however, forced to dissolve, by 
foreign pressure, chiefly through to the influence of 
D'Istria, the Russian ambassador at Zurich. All the 
cantons now sent representatives to the Diet held in 
this last-named city, with the view of drawing up a 
new federal pact. But party strife was very bitter, 
and the session lasted from April 6, I <S 1 4, to the 
the 31st of August, 181 5, an extraordinary length of 
time hence it was called the " Long Diet." The 
protracted proceedings were caused chiefly by Bern, 
which obstinately refused to abate her pretensions 
to the two districts (Vaud and Aargau). There were, 
however, many minor points of difference, all tending 
to embitter and prolong the session. It was clear 
that a settlement could only be brought about by a 
compromise, and great concessions on the part of 
some of the members. As a matter of fact several 
things were left unsettled. This Zurich constitution 
was to be laid before the Vienna Congress, which 
opened on the 3rd of November, 18 14, and which was 
to disentangle many knots in European politics. 

Monarchs, princes, ambassadors, ministers, and 
generals, from all the states, met at the gay city on 
the Danube, to rearrange the map of Europe. The 
story of this strange international gathering is well 
known, with its Vanity Fair of fine ladies and gentle- 
men, its magnificent fetes, balls, masquerades, steeple- 
chases, and gaities innumerable. It is said that 
Francis I. spent no less than thirty millions of florins 
on entertaining his guests, and the gay scene and 


high spirits formed a strange contrast with the 
previous despondency prevailing on the Continent 
generally. The " Congres danse, mats uc marcJie pas? 
was the saying that went abroad. Yet it was not 
strange that men felt glad. The weight of Napoleon's 
hand was now removed, and the world breathed more 
freely. All the sufferings of the last quarter of a 
century were forgotten, and, it is to be feared, the 
lesson to be learnt from them was not learnt. The 
changes were too many, too* sudden, and too sweeping 
to permit anything to take root. But the seeds left 
behind by the revolutions and wars will blossom and 
bear fruit later on. Every sound movement must 
develop gradually. In this way only can we account 
for the reactions, the return to the old lines of con- 
stitution and social life, after the fall of Bonaparte. 

Switzerland had many points to settle at the 
Congress, and, indeed, to the despair of the members, 
seemed inclined to bring forward all her domes-tic 
squabbles. On the whole, the commissioners showed 
much goodwill towards Switzerland, and took great 
pains to make that country a strong outpost against 
French extensions. Von Reinhard, the first Swiss 
representative at the Congress, gained much praise 
by his dignity and astuteness, and the Emperor 
Alexander entered fully into his liberal views and 
aspirations, coinciding with those of La Harpe. Bern 
and her pretensions, which were as strong as ever, 
gave most trouble, Vaud and Aargau naturally in- 
sisting on retaining their independence. At length 
a compromise was arranged, and the larger portion 
of the see of Basel ( Bernese Jura, &C.)i and Bienne 


being given to Bern. The bailiwicks of the laender 
redeemed their freedom by purchase ; the rest of the 
cantons, more generous, required no compensation. 
Subject lands were set free for good, and the country 
received its present boundaries. Ticino had been 
restored by Napoleon, and Valais, Geneva, and 
Ncuchatel, were admitted as cantons on an equality 
with the rest, and thus we get the now familiar 
number of twenty-two cantons. The list was closed, 
though by a strange anomaly Ncuchatel still continued 
to be not only a Swiss canton, but a Prussian duchy. 
Geneva was, as it were, rounded off by the addition 
of Versoix (Gex), and some Savoy communes. 1 
Geneva had long wished to be received into the 
Federation, and great was her rejoicing now that 
her dream was realized. Thus Switzerland received 
the great boon of independence, and of perpetual 
neutrality in European conflicts. Biinden lost her 
appendages, Valtellina, Chiavenna, and Bormio, 
which went to Austria, but gained in return 
the district of Razuns. The new constitution as- 
signed to Switzerland is decidedly inferior to the 
" Mediation Act." There was a revival of the old 
system of narrow prerogatives ; the several cantons 
gaining plein pouvoir as against the federal authori- 

1 She objected to receiving the larger strip of Savoy and French land 
(on the lake and the Rhone), which the Congress wished to assign her, 
for fear of being absorbed by Catholicism, and, moreover, she was 
anxious not to alarm her old friends. The facts were and are often 
misrepresented. Chablais and Faucigny, once temporarily held by 
15ern, were declared neutral, and placed under the guarantee of the 
Powers. That is, in case of war, Swiss troops quarter the district, as 
in 1870-71. 


ties ; the cities retaining their preponderance over 
the rural districts, and the wealth}' and the aristoc- 
racy their power over their poorer brethren. Military 
matters alone were better provided for. Thus we 
shall presently find that Revolution had to begin her 
work over again. Bern, Zurich, and Lucerne became 
in turn the seat of the Diet, and one vote only was 
allotted to each canton. Nidwalden offered a 
fanatical opposition to the new constitution, but was 
compelled to give way, and had to forfeit Engelberg, 
with its famous cloister and the whole valley, which 
was <dven to Obwaldcn. 



The history of the thirty-three years following 
181 5 may, so far as Switzerland is concerned, be 
summed up in this description — it was a protest, 
latent at first and afterwards open and declared, of 
the Swiss people against the decrees of the Vienna 
Congress, which tended to stop the wheel of progress. 
The Swiss struggled onwards through the conflicts 
of political development, and battled against all that 
was a hindrance to them in the constitution of 181 5, 
the Powers looking on with misgiving if not with 
dismay the while not understanding the signs of the 
times. Yet, by 1848, when the thrones of Europe 
were again shaken by revolutions, Switzerland had 
gained that for which it had been struggling, and 
had settled down into a peaceful and regenerated 
Bundestaat. We have shown how the settlement of 
181 5 was in many ways a return to old lines in both 
Church and State. Speaking generally, the Church 
gained greatly by the new constitution, the return of 


the Jesuits was favoured, the religious establishments 
were still maintained at a rate which really exceeded 
the financial possibilities of the state, and the clergy 
were given a free hand. Then the old power of the 
aristocracy was largely re-established, and the cities 
were given their former great preponderance over the 
country districts. Bern, for instance, receiving two 
hundred seats in the Council, as against ninety-nine. 
The reactionary regime from 181 5 to 1830, was, in 
fact, politically a blank, though towards its close some 
of the cantons began to carry measures of reform. 
Amongst these was Ticino, into which some fatal 
abuses had crept. To make up for their political 
deficiencies, and to rekindle their smouldering 
patriotism, the Swiss, as they had done before, turned 
to the past history of their country. They founded 
patriotic and literary clubs, and established liberal 
and benevolent institutions. Monuments were erected 
at classical spots — Morat, St. Jacques, the lion monu- 
ment, and so forth. Eminent painters like Vogel 
and Diday chose national historical events for their 
canvas ; and Rudolf Wyss composed the fine national 
anthem, " Kufst Du mein Vaterland." l A naturalists' 
club at Geneva, a students' association at Zofmgen, 
and a society of marksmen — still in existence — were 
started, whilst the old Helvetic Society of the 
eighteenth century left behind its mere thcori/.ings 
and discussions, and became an active political club. 

1 Wyp had studied at Gottingen, which was still under English rule, 
and had there been impressed by the English national anthem, of which 
his own is an imitation, the air being borrowed from "God save the 


All these things tended greatly to spread and promote 
Swiss liberalism, of which many noble champions 
had sprung up, now and in the previous period, like 
the veteran trio — Victor von Bonstetten, the friend 
of Madame de Stael, La Harpe, and Usteri ; like 
Troxler, Zschokkc, Monnard, Von Orelli and others, 
far too numerous even to name here. Under such 
men Switzerland moved on. " No human efforts can 
succeed in permanently leading back mankind to the 
old lines of a past and less enlightened age. To 
struggle onwards, and to reach the end aimed at is 
the quickening stimulus in every thinking being." 
Such were the encouraging words of Usteri, a 
champion whom the party of progress regarded as an 
oracle. Military matters received a great impetus 
by the formation of a central school for officers at 
Thun, and the increase of the army from fifteen 
thousand to thirty thousand men. It hardly needs to 
be said that when the struggle of the Greeks for 
independence began they had the hearty sympathy 
and support of the Swiss. 1 

In 1830 the revolution of July hurled from his 
throne Charles X., and raised to his place Louis 
Philippe. Strangely enough the effects of this 
movement were felt almost more abroad than in 
France itself. Certainly its influence on Switzerland 
was very considerable, and it hurried on various 
changes of a sweeping character in that country, 
changes, however, which had been long preparing. 

1 One of the leading collectors of subscriptions in aid of the Greeks 
was Eynard, a wealthy Genevese, whose own contributions were most 


Constitutional struggles, both federal and cantonal, 
crowded the next few years, and confessional diffi- 
culties tended not a little to quicken them. With 
nearly all the states, excepting some of the laender, 
the chief object now became the revision of their 
charters, so as to make them more consistent with 
the principles of popular rights and equality. Glarus, 
Uri, and Untenvalden were as yet averse to making 
changes, however justifiable and desirable they might 
seem to the rest of the country. The reforms were 
for the most part quietly carried out, but there were 
popular oppositions and stormy disputes in places. 
Bern was at first inclined to be conservative, but once 
embarked on the sea of reformation, sided strongly 
with the more progressive Zurich. Freiburg returned 
a crowd of fifty-seven priests and seventeen professors, 
all of the Jesuit order, and these ousted Girard, 
the Catholic Pestalozzi, from his noble work at St. 
Michael's College. Zurich proceeded in a peaceful 
and interesting fashion. Here as in other cases the 
city had a great preponderance of political power over 
the country districts of the canton. The fourteen 
thousand citizens elected one hundred and thirty 
representatives, as against the eighty-six assigned to 
the two hundred thousand rural inhabitants. The 
cause of the country folk was ably and without 
bitterness championed by two eloquent speakers, 
Guyer and Hegetschweiler ; and a motion was carried 
which allotted to the rural districts two-thirds of the 
seats on the council board. This " day of Uster," 
as it was called, proved a great landmark in political 
development. The sovereignty of the people was 



now the basis on which reforms were made. The 
foundation was laid for better administration, and 
social improvement and provision was made for 
necessary revisions of the constitution. To safe- 
gu ird their constitutions against the influence of 
reactionists, seven cantons entered into a league — 
Sieb iter- Concordat — March, 1832. They were Bern, 
Zurich, Lucerne, Solothurn, St. Gall, Aargau, and 

Less satisfactory was the course of events in 
Schwyz, Basel, and Neuchatel. In Schwyz a tem- 
porary separation into the two semi-cantons of Inner 
and Outer Schwyz was caused by the refusal of the 
former to grant equal rights to the latter, which had 
been formerly subject or purchased land mainly. 
Basel, the city of millionaires and manufactures, was 
able by her overwhelming importance to hold her 
supremacy over the rural districts, and thus arose the 
division into Baselstadt, and Baselland, which latter 
had Liestal as its chef hen. But all this after a 
civil strife of three years. Basel city joined the 
Catholic League formed at Sarncn, in November, 
1832, as a counterblast to the Siebner- Concordat. Uri, 
Inner- Schwyz, Unterwalden, and Valais also joined 
this league The inhabitants of Neuchatel had a 
double object, the reformation of their constitution, 
and their separation, if possible, from Prussia, the 
double regime being greatly disliked. An attempt 
was made on the castle, but it failed, and the Federa- 
tion re-established order, and the old status quo. The 
royalist party in Neuchatel now aimed at a severance 
from Switzerland. 


But the natural consequence of constitutional 
revision in the separate cantons was the revision of 
the federal pact, with the view of strengthening the 
bonds which joined the states. The draft of a new 
constitution for Switzerland was presented at Lucerne 
in Jul)-, 1832, by the moderate party, but it failed, as 
so many other attempts have done which clashed with 
the selfishness of those cantons, that thought more of 
the question of cantonal home-rule than of the weal 
of the country as a whole. A far-seeing policy 
required that the central government should be 
strengthened, that the Diet should be made thoroughly 
capable of protecting Swiss interests, both in the 
country itself and abroad. That the Diet was quite 
incapable of enforcing its decrees for the general 
good was plainly shown by the condition of things 
in Basel, alluded to above. 

With all these drawbacks, however, the period from 
1 830-1 848 witnessed a true regeneration — social, 
political, intellectual. Never had education made such 
marvellous progress. It is to this period that the 
country owes that revival of educational zeal and that 
improvement in schools and methods of teaching, 
which are the great glory of modern Switzerland. 
Canton vied with canton, and authority with authority, 
in their noble enthusiasm for education. Zurich, 
Bern, Thurgau, Solothurn, Vaud — all these founded 
excellent teachers' seminaries. Primary schools were 
improved, and secondary schools established in every 
canton, and in all the more important cities gym- 
nasiums were founded. At Zurich these time- 
honoured institutions, the Chorherrenstift and the 


Carolinum, \vc<c; in 1832 converted into the present 
gymnasium and university, and Bern made similar 
establishments in the following year. Thus were 
being gradually realized the noble aspirations of 
the "Helvetic" period, those of Stapfer particu- 

Unfortunate conflicts with foreign powers, however, 
not seldom arose. Fugitives from other countries 
then as now made Switzerland their abode, and many 
of them abused her hospitality, and entangled her in 
dissensions with foreign governments. Many of the 
political emigres were men of great note, but space 
will permit of our noticing only two, Louis Philippe, 
and Louis Napoleon, afterwards Napoleon III. The 
Prince de Chartres lived for some years in Grau- 
biinden, occupying under the name of Chabaud, the 
position of mathematical master in an educational 
establishment of repute at Reichenau. Singularly 
enough he afterwards refused to the man who was 
to succeed him on the throne of France, the privilege 
of shelter in Swiss lands, that is to say, he objected 
very strongly. For in 1838 he suddenly requested 
that the Swiss Diet should give up Louis Napoleon, 
on the plea that he was an intriguer. This request 
was in reality a demand, and was more than the 
Swiss could stand. Napoleon was in fact a Swiss 
burgess, having become naturalized, and having 
passed through the military school at Thun, and 
become a captain in the Swiss army. His mother 
had for some time lived with her son in the castle 
of Arenenberg (in the Canton of Thurgau), which she 
had purchased soon after 18 14. Thanks to the efforts 


of Dr. Kern, representative of that state in the Diet, 
the Swiss Government were able to disprove the 
charge made against Louis Napoleon, and the Diet 
firmly refused to expel the prince. France enraged 
threatened war to her " turbulent neighbour," and 
actually set on foot an army of twenty-five thousand 
men. Thoroughly roused, the Diet sent troops to the 
frontier, amidst general acclamations, Geneva and 
Vaud being conspicuous in their endeavours to pro- 
tect their boundaries. These two cantons were 
specially thanked by the central government. The 
prince, however, cleared away difficulties by quitting 
the Swiss soil. 1 

The Zurich conflicts of 1839, called " Zurichputsch," 
from a local word meaning push or scramble, claim 
a moment's attention. That canton had perhaps 
more thoroughly than any other carried through a 
reorganization of its legislature and administration. 
It had established a most complete system of 
schools, graded from the primary school up to the 
University, whose chairs were occupied by men who 
made the city a real intellectual centre — by Oken, 
Hitzig, Schweizer, Von Orelli, Bluntschli, and others. 
Things marched too rapidly however. Dr. Scherr, a 
rationalist German emigre, was at the head of an 

1 " La Suisse a montre qu'elle etait prete a faire les plus grands 
sacrifices pour maintenir sa (lignite et son honneur. Elle a su faire son 
devoir comme nation independente ; je saurai faire le mien, et rester 
6dele a l'honneur. ... le sett! pays ou j'avais trouve en Europe 
appui et protection. . . . Je n'oublierai jamais la noble conduite des 
cantons qui se sunt pronnnces si courageusement en ma faveur . . . 
surtout Thurgovie '* (Extracts from Napoleon's letter of thanks to the 
Landammann of Thurgau, published in Dr. Kern's "Souvtniirs poli- 


excellent training-college for teachers, but refused to 
allow biblical teaching to be given. Then the 
Government, anxious to make the city of Zwingli a 
centre of freethought, appointed the famous Strauss, 
author of the " Leben Jesu," to a vacancy on the 
university staff, despite the warnings of the native 
professors. The country people rose in wild frenzy, 
being urged on by the reactionary party, which 
desired to regain the reins of government. So great 
was the feeling against the appointment, that Strauss 
was pensioned off even before he saw the city. Even 
yet the excitement was very great, and, led by Pastor 
Hirzel, the rural inhabitants flocked into Zurich in 
great numbers. The Council was obliged to resign, 
and for a considerable period the reactionists had the 
power in their own hands. A few persons, but not 
many, were killed during the disturbances. The 
effects of this cont re-coup in the most advanced city 
of the republic were soon felt in other places, in 
Ticino, Lucerne, and Freiburg, where conservative 
governments were returned, and codes altered accord- 
ingly. Zurich and Lucerne left the Siebner~Con< 

But the event which stands out more prominently 
than any other during this period is the Sondcrbund 
war of 1K47. This conflict, which threatened the 
very existence of the state, forms the prelude to the 
European disturbances of the following year. This 
dispute of 1 S47 is the old struggle between the 
centralists and the federalists, or rather the progressi- 
and the reactionists, the dispute being intensified 
by religious differences. The chief points in the con- 


flict must be briefly noted. In some of the canton< 
the Catholics, though in a minority, had advantages 
over the Protestant population, and when, in 1841, 
Aargau was revising its constitution, the latter de- 
manded to be put on an equal footing with their 
Catholic brethren. This was flatly refused, and an 
embroilment took place in the canton, some of the 
monasteries taking a leading part in fomenting the 
quarrel. The rising, however, came to nought, and 
the Great Council, on the motion of Keller, suspended 
the monastic houses, on the plea that they were hot- 
beds of intrigue. This step was clearly in opposition 
to the principles of the Federal Constitution of 181 5, 
and for years caused great trouble. It is impossible to 
give here minutely the story of the disputes : suffice 
it to say, the Diet compromised matters by extending 
forgiveness to four of the cloisters that had kept 
aloof from the rising. But in 1845 Uri, Schwyz, 
Unterwalden, Zug, Freiburg, and Valais, formed a 
secret league — that of Sarnen had long since fallen 
through — to protect Catholic interests, and appointed 
Jesuits to the highest offices in the state. The 
entrance of the order at the Vorort created great 
excitement, but the Diet abstained from intervening, 
fearing to make matters worse. Two hapless expe- 
ditions of " Free Lances " now took place, the liberals 
from Lucerne and other cantons attempting to carry 
that city. The attempts utterly failed, and naturally 
so, seeing in how disorganized a condition the partizans 
were. But in January, 1847, the Protestants managed 
to get a majority at the Diet, and demanded the 
dissolution of the Sonderbund, as it had got to be 


called by that time. The foreign courts — Paris, Vienna, 
Berlin, and others — sided with the Swiss Sonderbund, 
being anxious to retain the status quo of 181 5 ; France 
and Austria particularly sending money and promises 
of further support. England alone favoured the 
Protestants of Switzerland, and rendered them a 
great service. Palmerston was all against foreign 
intervention, and when the Powers issued a manifesto 
against the Swiss, he kept it back till Nov. 30th, when 
all was quietly settled. Meanwhile the Sonderbund 
organized a Council of War, and prepared for action. 
The Diet did all in its power tc reconcile the contend- 
ing religionists, and the English ambassador at Bern 
strongly recommended moderation and mutual con- 
cessions. 1 

Seeing that in spite of all their efforts war was 
inevitable, the Diet levied an army of ninety-eight 
thousand men, at the head of which was placed 
General Dufour of Geneva. The Sonderbund raised 
seventy-five thousand men, under General Salis- 
Soglio, a Protestant from Blinder). Dufour was 
a soldier of the old Napoleonic school, and a con- 
summate tactician, and was revered by his fellow 
countrymen for his patriotism, lofty character, and 
high culture. It was under his management that 
the Swiss topographical maps bearing his name — the 
first of their kind — were executed. His selection as 
general gave great satisfaction. Thanks to Dufour's 
ability the campaign was short, lasting only from the 
4th to the 29th of November, 1847, an d the losses 

' See "Souvenirs Politiques de 1838-83," by Dr. Kern, Swiss 
Ambassador at Paris, Bern, and Paris, 1887, pp. 51, 52. 


were comparatively small. Honours were lavished 
on Dufour on all sides, even they of the Sonderbund 
heartily acknowledging his great services. 

Heartburning and jealousy enough and to spare 
there had been between the opposing religious parties. 
On the 29th of October, 1847, the last occasion on 
which the Diet had attempted to reconcile Catholic 
and Protestant, there had been the utmost dissension 
and rancour. But such is the nature of Swiss 
patriotism that when, three short months after, the 
countries around Switzerland were convulsed with 
revolutions, and the Swiss lands were threatened with 
invasion, the contending religionists forgot their 
domestic quarrels entirely. And the glorious sight 
was seen of Catholic and Protestant standing shoulder 
to shoulder, ready to vie with each other in meeting 
danger and death in defence of their common and 
beloved fatherland. Not a vestige of hostile party 
feeling was left. It has ever been thus in Switzer- 



The year 1848, which crowned the noble aspirations 
of the Regeneration period in Switzerland, marked a 
fresh starting-point in the history of the country. 
Providence had dealt graciously with the little republic. 
France, Prussia, and Austria were battling with the 
" February Revolution," and were thus prevented 
from dealing out to her the fate of unhappy Poland. 
Meanwhile eminent Swiss statesmen were drafting the 
new Federal Constitution which was to bind the 
various nationalities into one people, and the twenty- 
two cantons into a well-riveted Bundestaat, a state 
which, thanks to its policy, its prosperity, and its in- 
dependent spirit, was soon to command the esteem of 
even the most antagonistic Powers. 

On the 1 2th of September, 1848, the new pact was 
proclaimed, amidst cannonading, illumination, and 
general rejoicing. The old and crippled Tagsatzung 
was abolished. The new constitution borrowed some 
features from that of the United States, and, though 
greatly on the lines of the Mediation Act, blended far 


more happily the central and federal systems. Only 
the essential points can here be noted. 

The Central Government, whose raison d'etre is the 
maintenance of peace and order at home, and the 
upholding of the national honour abroad, divides 
itself into three authorities or divisions, the Federal 
Assembly, the Legislative body ; the Federal Council, 
which is the executive body ; and the Federal Tri- 
bunal. The Federal Assembly consists of two cham- 
bers, the National Council, and the Council of the 
States ; the former elected by the Swiss people at 
large, the latter representing the different cantons. 
The Nationalrat is elected by ballot for three years, 
one member to every twenty thousand souls. At 
present (1919) there are 189 members. The can- 
tonal governments elect the members of the other 
chamber, two to each canton, one to a semi-canton. 
The Federal Council (Bundesrat) is the Executive, 
and consists of seven members. Its chairman or 
president holds the highest dignity in the country, 
though his powers do not exceed those of his 
fellow-ministers. The whole Cabinet is collectively 
responsible for the conduct of all public business, 
and holds the summum imperium. Thus the 
whole Federal Council, and not its president only, 
occupies the position similar to that of the Presi- 
dent of the United States. 1 There are various 
departments of the Executive — Foreign Affairs, 

1 There is, in fact, no office in Svitzerland similar to that of the 
United States President, though foreigners nearly always speak of the 
President of the Swiss Republic, when they mean simply the Chairman 
of the Cabinet. 



Interior and Education, Justice and Police, Military, 
Finance and Customs, Industry and Agriculture, Post 
and Railway. The Federal Assembly normally sits 
twice a year, and elects both the Bundesrat, and 
Bundesgericht (Tribunal). The Cabinet is subject 
to re-election every three years, but the same 
ministers are commonly chosen again and again. 
The Tribunal, or judiciary body, consists of nine 
members, who are elected every six years, with 
headquarters at Lausanne (since 1884). 


Bern, on account of its position between the 
German and French-speaking districts, was chosen as 
the seat of the central government. Zurich was to 
have been the home of the National University, but 
the plan failed, and it is now the seat of the National 
Polytechnikum, or technical university. Thus the 
two leading cities of the Confederation keep up their 
old characteristics, as governmental and intellectual 
respectively. Zurich's claims to intellectual distinc- 


tion are unquestionable. Its magnificent system of 
schools, &c.j is probably one of the most complete in 
Europe, if not in the world. 

It would be tedious as it is unnecessary to enter iri 
detail in*o the powers of the central government as 
compared with those of the separate cantons. Suffice 
it to say, that the Bund reigns supreme in all relations 
with foreign states — it is only through the medium 
of the central government that any canton can treat 
with a foreign Power— that it controls all military 
matters, regulates coinage (Mints), weights and 
measures, posts and telegraphs, and fixes customs 
duties. It also partly controls the national education 
— the Polytechnikum at Zurich is wholly a federal 
affair, for instance — but in general each canton is left 
to its own devices in the matter. Thus, though every 
Swiss takes a pride in his schools, there in not one 
uniform standard throughout the state. 

Every burgess is bound to perform military service, 
and at any time a force of 200.000 men of the clit:, 
and first reserve, can be placed in the field, no: 
including the Landsturm. After the Franco-German 
war military matters engaged the serious atten- 
tion of the country, seeing the central position of 
Switzerland, and the unsettled state of Europe. 1 It 
remains to be said that the new Constitution secured 
freedom in religious matters, though the Jesuits were 
denied free settlement, and the Jews were not recog- 
nized till 1866. The Octroi, or duties between the 

1 The reader is referred for fuller information to the most interesting 
account by Sir F. O. Adams and Mr. Cunningham in " The Swiss 
Confederation " (Longmans). 


cantons, was not removed till 1887, and then only 
after a hard fight on the part of some of the cantons, 
notably Bern, to whom these dues were a great 
source of profit. 

It is a problem requiring all the powers of the 
skilled statesmen to make the two Swiss sovereign- 
ties — the federal and cantonal — run side by side 
without allowing either to trench on the other's 
ground. And it is still a much disputed point how 
far it is to the national benefit to increase the powers 
of the Federal Government. The centralization of 
the Government, which was to increase considerably 
towards the close of the century, undoubtedly secures 
a better administration in most points, but the cantons 
jealously guard against any infringement of their 
rights by the Federation. They believe that a 
healthy rivalry and emulation between the states is 
a good thing, and one not lightly to be given up. 

The new Bundesrat was soon called upon to prove 
the quality of its mettle, for troubles arose in Neu- 
chatel. This canton was, up to 1848, a veritable 
mediaeval relic in its form of government — a mixture 
of monarchy and free state. Few spots in Europe 
have had a more typical and characteristic history than 
Neuchatel, and did space permit it would be most 
interesting to trace that history downwards, from its 
junction with the empire in 1033 ; through its rule 
by native lords, the counts of Neuchatel, till their 
extinction in 1395 ; its vassalage to the house of 
Chalons ; the suzerainty of the Orleans-Longueville 
family ; the regency of Marie de Nemours (1679- 
1707). But here suffice it to say, that through fear 
of the designs of Louis Quatorzc, Neuchatel gladly 


accepted the ducal supremacy of the kings of Prussia. 
In 18 1 5 it was incorporated with the Confederation, 
as a canton with equal rights and standing to the 
rest. Notwithstanding this, Prussia still claimed to 
be its overlord, and thus arose a double regime, 
a condition of things plainly untenable. In 1848 the 
Confederation endeavoured to obtain the release of 
the canton from Prussian rule, and this by the peace- 
ful methods of diplomacy, but in vain. In 1856 a 
conspiracy was set on foot to undo the work of 1848 
— the granting of a more democratic constitution to 
Neuchatel. At the head of these royalist plotters were 
Count Pourtales and De Meuron. However, their 
plans failed, and five hundred prisoners were taken. 
Out of these, twenty-five were by order of the Federal 
Government kept back to be tried as insurgents. 
Frederick William IV., of Prussia, demanded their 
unconditional pardon and surrender, an order obedi- 
ence to which would have been a renunciation of the 
canton, and a defiance of the Federal rule. The 
demand was refused, and the question of the release 
became the centre about which all the negotiation now 
turned. In this emergency Napoleon III., of France, 
offered his services as mediator, mindful of the hos- 
pitality shown to him of old by Switzerland. He 
further promised to espouse the Swiss cause if the 
prisoners were released, and to Switzerland his offer 
carried greater weight than all the promises of Prussia. 
" I shall act in the matter as ii i were the Swiss Govern- 
ment," he assured Dr. Kern, who had been sent as 
special envoy to the French Court, and in a further 
conversation tried in every possible way to prove his 


cympathy with the little republic. 1 England made 
similar promises. 2 However the Prussian king made 
no overtures, and neither France nor England gave 
sufficient guarantee that Neuchatel should be ceded 
to Switzerland, and the Swiss Government therefore 
declined to proceed further on these vague terms. 
Frederick William threatened war, and began to 
mobilize his troops. The Federal Council likewise 
began its preparation, and without outward sign of 
fear or hesitation, but with a unanimous feeling of 
heroic enthusiasm though the length and breadth of 
the country, the Swiss went on with their military 
organization. Most touching instances of devoted 
patriotism were witnessed — from the greyhaired old 
man to the mere boy the people offered their services ; 
fellow-countrymen abroad sent large sums of money ; 
even school children offered their savings. Catholic 
and Protestant, French and German, Italian and 
Romansch, all were animated by one spirit, all were 
equally ready to defend the honour and independence 
of their beloved country. Dufour was again elected 
Commander-in-chief of the Federal forces. To the 
crowds who gave him a splendid ovation he replied in 
these memorable words : " I rejoice to end my life in 
the service of my country. I am old " — he was seventy 
— " and my task is heavy, for the enemy is powerful, 
but I trust I shall carry on my mission in the name of 
the God of our Riitli, who has never ceased to protect 
our Fatherland." Such has ever been and ever will 
be the love of the Swiss for their native soil, a love 

' Kern, "Souvenirs Suisses," pp. 124-129, where other instances of 
Napoleon's goodwill in 1S48-9 are mentioned. 
3 See Oechsli : " England und die Schwei/. " (Zurich, 1919). 



not based merely on the beauty of their land, nor on 
the perfection of its institutions, but on the knowledge 
that it is a stronghold of noble freedom, and one of 
their own rearing. The proud bearing of the Swiss 
made a great impression on the Powers, and particu- 
larly excited the admiration of Napoleon, who, for 
getting the former distrust shown towards him, again 
offered his services as mediator. By his advice the 
prisoners were conducted to France, and there set 
free, on January 16, 1857, and they remained in 
banishment till the settlement of the dispute. This 
was finally accomplished on May 26th, at the con- 
ference of Paris, when the Prussian king formally 
renounced for ever all claims on Neuchatel, whether 
duchy or canton, retaining, however, the title of 
Furst von Neuenburg. Thus the district was entirely 
ceded to Switzerland. 

The cession of Nice and Savoy to Napoleon III. 
by Victor Emmanuel in 1859-60, led to dissensions 
with the emperor, which might have turned out 
serious, the Swiss having some claims on Chablais 
and Faucigny. The point is not settled even yet. 
There were also disputes with the Papal See, 
consequent on the development of the Old 
Catholic movement, and the Pope's encroach- 
ments. Though the old diocese of Geneva had 
been long abolished, Pius IX. appointed Mermillod 
(afterwards Cardinal : the first Swiss since Schinner 
to attain this position) as bishop. Lachat, Bishop 
of Solothurn, turned out of their cures several priests 
for declining to accept the dogma of infallibility. 
The exasperation in the country was great. Mer- 
millod was banished from Switzerland, Lachet from 


his see, and the Papal Nuncio was discharged. It was 
not till 1883 that Mermillod was allowed to return. 
It remains to speak briefly of some of the consti- 
tutional revisions which were effected up to 1889. 
In 1874 the Federal Pact was amended. Briefly the 
improvement on the pact of 1848 consisted mainly in 
arranging a better and more effective centralization 
in financial, military, and judicial matters. Experi- 
ence had brought to light many defects in the 
representative system. Personal, local, or class 
interests often weighed more with delegates than 
national interests ; or occasionally a minister would 
assume too great powers to himself. To give the 
people a more direct share in the legislation, two 
institutions were set on foot which are peculiar to 
Switzerland. These are the "Initiative" and the 
" Referendum." They are perhaps the furthest 
developments of democracy yet reached, and at the 
time excited considerable interest in English-speaking 

The Initiative is a development of the right of 
petitioning. By it any voter or voters may propose 
new legislation, and if the requisite number of voters 
can be got to support the proposal by signing the 
formal petition in its favour, the matter must be put 
to the popular vote. The number of signatures 
necessary is five thousand in the case of cantonal 
legislation, and fifty thousand in Federal matters. The 
people have thus always the power to bring on the 
discussion of any matter, however much the Council, 
or the legislators may object. 

The Referendum, which by the way is far more 

- *s 

fa ^ 


frequently applied, secures that any law passed by the 
cantonal assemblies, or by the Federal Assembly, 
shall be put before the forum of the whole people * — 
referred to the whole body of voters — if again the 
required number of supporters can be got together. 
In cantonal matters this number is the same as in the 
case of the Initiative ; in matters relating to the 
Confederation, thirty thousand votes, or eight cantons 
are necessary. There are two kinds of Referendum, 
adopted by different parts of the country, the " facul- 
tative," or optional Referendum, by St. Gall, Zug, 
Lucerne, Baselstadt, Schaffhausen, Vaud, Neuchatel 
(1882), Geneva, Ticino (1883) ; and the "obligatory" 
or compulsory Referendum, which obtains in Zurich 
(1869), Bern (1869), Thurgau, Aargau, Solothurn, 
Schwyz, Graubiinden, and Baselland. Uri, Glarus, 
the two Unterwalden, and the two Appenzell cantons, 
still cling to their old landsgemeinde, whilst Valais 
has a financial Referendum, and Freiburg is content 
with its older representative form of government. 
Opinion is much divided in Switzerland as to the 
value of the Referendum. In this, probably, most 
Swiss agree, that an arrangement which places the 
sovereign will of the people above that of the autho- 
rities and legislative bodies is a good arrangement, 
providing the people at large are intelligent and 
educated. And here Switzerland shows to great 
advantage. Probably no people in the world have so 

1 Legislative Acts are, in fact, referred to the whole people for approval 
or disapproval, as in limited monarchies they are referred to the 
sovereign. But in Switzerland the veto possessed by the people is a 
real thing, and not a virtual impossibility, as in England for in-tance. 


fully and so clearly recognized that "education alone 
makes free." The Swiss educational system is such, 
that it reaches down to the poorest child and pene- 
trates into the remotest valley. All primary educa- 
tion is gratuitous and compulsory. If any people 
deserve by education and intelligence to be entrusted 
with powers like that conferred by the Referendum, it 
is the Swiss. Yet men of every political shade admit 
that the Referendum is a two-edged weapon which 
may cut both ways. It is at any rate no new thing 
in Switzerland. It may be styled a landsgemeinde by 
ballot. And, as far back as the sixteenth century 
the question of the Reformation was put to the Refe- 
rendum — in a somewhat different way, it is true — both 
in Zurich and Bern. In its present form, of course, 
the Referendum is modern. It is curious to find that 
though introduced by the advanced democratic party 
it turns out in actual working to be a decidedly con- 
servative measure. It may stop a sound and 
beneficial measure occasionally, but it is more likely 
to check rash and insufficiently considered legislation, 
as the Swiss are naturally averse to needless changes. 
An example or two may serve to illustrate this. 
Baselland thrice brought forward a Bill for the revision 
of its cantonal code ; thrice the Bill was rejected, 
under the compulsory Referendum. At Zurich in 
1889 the Grand Council wished to bring in a new 
law for bettering the education of the masses by 
improving the supplementary schools. The country 
labourers had a majority, and rejected the measure, 
objecting, it is said, to the additional expenditure. 
Such instances could be multiplied. On the whole, 



perhaps, the "facultative" Referendum is to be 
preferred to the obligatory. We may mention, in 
conclusion, that out of 107 Bills passed by the Federal 
Council, between 1874 and 1886, nineteen were sub- 
mitted to the Referendum, and of these nineteen, but 
six were ultimately adopted by the whole body of 
voters thus appealed to 





A MERE glance at the map, a realization of 
Switzerland's geographical position and the large 
proportion of her territory which is unproductive, 
of raw materials and agricultural products alike, 
should be sufficient to remind us of the extent of 
the Confederation's dependence on its neighbours 
and foreign countries generally. Yet this fact has 
not meant greater willingness on the part of the 
Confederation to yield to foreign threats or attempt 
to curry favour with foreign governments. An 
interesting example of Switzerland's determination 
to stand up for her rights was provided by the 
famous Wohlgemuth case in the year 1889, in which 
there was a dispute between the Federal Govern- 
ment and Bismarck. The Iron Chancellor was just 
then waging his war against Social Democracy in 
the German Empire. The repressive laws against 
Socialists had the effect of driving the leaders of 
the party to Switzerland, the Government of which, 


though by no means in favour of Socialist theories, 
was nevertheless determined to uphold its traditional 
right of asylum for political refugees. Wohlgemuth 
was one of Bismarck's secret agents, despatched to 
Switzerland to watch the movements of the German 
Socialist exiles there. As to allow this kind of 
counter-espionage work to go on in their territory 
would have meant a denial of the spirit of Swiss 
traditional practice, Wohlgemuth was expelled. 
Bismarck was extremely annoyed, and an exchange 
of notes took place, in which, however, Bismarck 
was beaten. 

But though economic and political inferiority did 
not prevent the Swiss Government from standing on 
its dignity and asserting its rights, it did compel an 
increasing regard, at about the same date, for the 
question of federal commercial policy. And here 
the word "federal" is important. As late as 1887 
decentralization in the matter of commerce had been 
carried to such a pitch as to allow the maintenance 
of an inter-cantonal Customs system. In that year, 
however, Customs dues between the individual 
cantons were abolished, and thereafter came a 
growing activity on the part of the Federal Govern- 
ment in the sphere of commercial relations with 
foreign states. Such activity was, of course, permitted 
according to the Constitution, but in practice the 
cantons had had considerable powers of direct deal- 
ing with foreign governments, and these they were 
disinclined to see curtailed. The change, however, 
had to come; hard economic necessity forced it 
upon the nation. 


The principal determining factor in this matter of 
Federal commercial policy was the German Empire. 
The success of Bismarck's policy in bringing 
Germany back to Protection had led, between the 
years 1880 and 1890, to the adoption of the same 
policy by France and Italy, and Switzerland, a free 
trade state by tradition, as her President, Numa 
Droz, boasted in 1883, saw herself being wedged 
in between a number of Protectionist countries. The 
result was a transformation of economic policy. In 
December, 1887, the Federal Assembly, under the 
influence of a similar decision taken by the German 
Government, had voted in favour of a considerable 
increase of taxes on imports, certain of which were 
fixed at double what they had been two years 
previously, when they were first imposed. Now, in 
April, 1891, came a third tariff, raising the import 
dues again by considerable amounts. This time 
opposition made itself felt, but a popular vote 
showed a majority of approximately four to three 
(220,004 to 158,934) in favour of the new scale of 
dues. By a law of June, 1894, the whole Customs 
organization of the country was placed under federal 
control. Six Customs regions were provided for — 
at Geneva, Lausanne, Basle, Schaffhausen, Chur, 
and Lugano, the administration being centralized 
at Bern. Immediately preceding or accompanying 
these changes were a number of commercial treaties 
with foreign states. Of these the principal were 
those with Belgium, concluded July, 1889 ; Germany, 
of December, 1891 ; Roumania, of March, 1893 ; 
France, of June, 1895 ; and Japan, of November, 


1897. Several of these commercial treaties were 
later revised, on the coming into force of a new 
tariff, but in the years following 1889 the foundations 
of Switzerland's commercial policy, much as it exists 
to-day, were laid. 

One of the first effects of this new commercial 
policy on the domestic situation in Switzerland was 
an interesting appeal to the Constitutional Initiative. 
Until the year 1891 the Initiative provided for in 
the Constitution of 1874 had been interpreted by 
the Federal Government as being applicable only 
to total revisions of the Constitution, or to general 
revisions. This meant that popular petition, duly 
presented, for even a small change in the Constitu- 
tion, would have necessitated a complete upheaval 
of the Constitution and a resignation of the whole 
Federal Assembly. This was naturally considered 
too large a risk to take, and the popular Initiative 
would have lost all meaning had the interpretation 
of total revision been maintained. Accordingly an 
agitation was started for making the initiative apply 
equally to partial revisions, and in 1891 there was 
an amendment of the Constitution putting this into 
operation. Henceforward it was to be possible for 
50,000 or more voters, by submitting a constitutional 
amendment, to compel the submission of it to a 
popular referendum. The number of heads under 
which constitutional reform might be brought and the 
number of subjects which might thus be touched on 
being very considerable, it follows that by this form 
of Initiative which was accepted in 1891 the range 
of the direct participation of the Swiss people in 


legislation is made very wide indeed, and it might 
be supposed that a good many radical changes in 
the Swiss Constitution would have been the result. 
In point of fact, however, the number of Initiatives 
has been very small, and the changes accepted by 
this method on the whole absolutely insignificant. 
From 1893, the date of the first exercise of this 
constitutional right by the Swiss people, to the out- 
break of the Great War, there have been only nine 
Initiatives, the three acceptances being a law against 
the Jewish method of slaughtering animals, passed 
1893 ; a prohibition of the sale and manufacture of 
absinthe, passed in 1908, and an amendment giving 
the Federal Government control over water-power, 
effected in the same year. 

One of the first rejections arose, as has been 
indicated, out of the new commercial policy of the 
Confederation. The increased Customs dues brought 
a higher revenue into the coffers of the state, and in 
November, 1894, there was a constitutional initiative 
proposing to divide a part of the federal Customs 
revenue among the various cantons. Nearly 70,000 
persons signed the petition, but on its submission 
to the popular vote it was rejected by approximately 
350,000 to 145,000. This was, however, not the only 
outcome of the Confederation's central prosperity. 
The second and most important result was the 
manner in which the Federal Government, on the 
increased return from the Customs revenue, prepared 
to embark on new social legislation and schemes that 
may be generally described in the term " State 
Socialism." This should, of course, not be held 


as implying that the changes which were about to 
be effected were in any way due to the Social 
Democratic Party. That party, though in 1890 it 
managed to capture six seats in the National 
Council, was not yet a considerable force in the 
country, and one of the popular initiatives it 
succeeded in bringing about, that in the year 1894, 
demanding that the state should be held responsible 
for providing every man with employment, was 
defeated by an overwhelming majority in the 
referendum. It was rather the Radical Party which, 
during the period under discussion, began to put 
in hand a great social reform programme, acting, 
no doubt, to a certain extent under the influence 
of many of those ideas of social progress which 
occupied a prominent place in the current Socialist 
gospel, but also, and much more considerably, 
under the influence of their own centralistic and 
general social reform tendencies. As certain of the 
measures which the Federal Government attempted 
or succeeded in putting into operation were of an 
importance going far beyond the boundaries of the 
Swiss Confederation, it will be of interest to examine 
them in some detail. 

Legislation directed to the improvement of con- 
ditions of labour, whether initiated by the Federal 
Government or by individual cantons, had for some 
years been a remarkable feature of Swiss political 
and social life. The principle of workmen's com- 
pensation, for example, was very early adopted, 
Switzerland being one of the first countries to 
recognize it. In October, 1890, this recognition was 


embodied in an amendment to the Constitution, giving 
the Government the right to establish by law in- 
surance against sickness and accidents. A law in 
accordance with this amendment was drawn up and 
passed by both houses of the Federal Assembly in 
1899, but, submitted to referendum in the following 
year, it was rejected by a considerable majority. 
Certain details in the measure were the reason for 
this unexpected display of opposition ; the principle 
of compulsory insurance was not objected to, and was, 
in fact, applied in 1901 to the case of soldiers. But 
it was not until 191 2 that a general law establishing 
state insurance against sickness and accidents was 
finally passed. 

The question of the conditions under which work 
was carried on has always been one to which great 
attention has been given by the Swiss Federal 
Council. One of the new clauses in the revised 
Federal Constitution of 1874 had been that con- 
ferring upon the Federal Government the power of 
devising laws in regard to factories, the working 
hours of employees, and similar subjects. In 
accordance with this a Factory Act was passed 
in 1877, by which the hours of work were regulated, 
the conditions of labour, especially for women and 
children, were fixed, and provision made for inspec- 
tion with a view to ensuring the best possible 
conditions in dangerous or unhealthy industries. 
On this fundamental law, which was maintained 
in full vigour until the year 1914, when a superior 
law took its place, was built a considerable number 
of legislative measures tending to raise the status of 


the manual worker and ensure him the necessary- 
good conditions and leisure. Certain of the laws 
and provisions were purely cantonal affairs — for it 
was left optional to the cantons to go further than 
the federal law if they wished — and altogether the 
number of such measures is exceptionally large. 
In 1890, for example, fifty-two days' holiday a year 
were fixed for all railway, postal, and Customs 
employees. In 1898 the use of white phosphorus 
was absolutely prohibited — a reform which was 
subsequently made practically universal by the 
action of the Society for International Labour 
Legislation, established at Basle in the year 1901 
for the purpose of studying the conditions of labour 
the world over and endeavouring to suggest to 
national legislatures the passage of desirable reforms 
in labour conditions. The nineties and the early 
years of the twentieth century were for Switzerland 
a most fruitful period, both as regards actual achieve- 
ment and suggestive experiment, in the sphere of 
governmental social reform. 

But this was not the only important activity of the 
Central Government. In 1891 there began the efforts, 
spread over several years following, to bring the 
financial system of the country under federal 
control. There had been centralized financial 
administration as far back as 1798, when the 
Helvetian Republic acquired the right of minting 
money. But the privilege soon reverted to the 
individual cantons, causing an extraordinarily con- 
fused coinage system. The Federal Constitution 
of 1848 restored uniformity again by giving the 


Federal Government the right of issuing money, 
and in the year 1865 Switzerland adhered to the 
Latin Monetary Union, which was founded in that 
year. But uniformity of coinage did not mean 
uniformity of financial administration, for the 
cantons were left free to issue banknotes. No 
attempt to alter this state of affairs was made in 
the Constitution of 1874; the Confederation was 
merely given the right to control issue and re- 
demption, in which the cantons # had hitherto been 
left entirely free, but forbidden to monopolize the 
issue of notes. Shortly afterwards, however, the 
advocates of centralization began to agitate for 
the establishment of a national bank. They were 
not successful until, in 1891, there was introduced 
by popular vote in the Constitution a new article 
declaring that " the right of issuing banknotes and 
all other paper-money belonged exclusively to the 
Confederation. The Confederation shall exploit the 
monopoly of banknotes by means of a state bank, 
placed under special administration, or yield the 
monopoly, reserving the right of re-purchase, to a 
central banking company, which shall be conducted 
with the assistance and under the control of the 
Confederation." With the object of carrying this 
amendment into effect a law was proposed, but 
when submitted to the popular vote, in 1897, it 
was defeated, largely owing to the strength of 
cantonal feeling. The disadvantages of not having 
a central Federal Bank, however, but having instead 
an excessive number of separate banks empowered 
to issue banknotes — the number grew to thirty-six — 


became so obvious as to compel a revulsion of 
opinion, and in 1906 the project of a National 
Bank was accepted, each of the cantonal banks 
taking up a certain proportion of capital. In 1907 
the new Federal Bank opened its head offices at 
Bern and Zurich respectively, and has ever since 
proved a great success. 

In the sphere of railway administration even more 
than in that of financial the struggle for centralization 
was to prove long and bitter. " Railway policy " 
{Eisenbahnpolitifc) has always played, and occasionally 
still plays, a most conspicuous part in the political 
life of the Confederation, and the account of the steps 
by which the Swiss railways became Bundesbahnen 
(Federal Railways) forms an interesting and in- 
structive story. The Federal Constitution of 1848 
conferred upon the Federal Council the right of 
expropriating railways, and the Commission charged 
with the duty of examining the question recom- 
mended that railway construction should be under- 
taken by the state. The Federal Assembly, however, 
did not approve of this, and in a law of 1852 gave 
over all rights to the separate cantons, which were 
empowered to entrust the establishment of railways 
by private enterprise. This privilege the cantons 
exercised without serious question until the year 
1869, when the construction of the great St. 
Gothard Railway, too complicated and expensive 
a matter for cantonal dealing, came to alter the 
direction of Swiss railway policy. In that year the 
St. Gothard Conference had been held at Berne 
under the presidency of the Federal President. 



M. Welti, and the proportions in which the states 
represented, namely, the North German Confederation, 
Baden, Wurtemberg, Italy, and the Swiss Confeder- 
ation, should bear the cost, decided. The subsequent 
treaty was intended to be carried into effect through 
the instrumentality of the St. Gothard Railway 
Company, but this proving difficult, a law was passed 
in 1872 giving the Confederation, in effect, the right 
to overrule the cantons in the matter of railway 
construction, in which hitherto they had been 
practically autonomous, and fixing the year 1893 as 
the earliest in which the Confederation might pro- 
ceed to buy out the lines. Before this date was 
reached, however, there was to be a popular vote 
against ownership by the Confederation. This came 
in the year 1 891, when the project, approved by 
the Federal Assembly, that the Confederation should 
purchase the Central Railway, was put to the 
referendum and lost. In reality this did not indicate 
a widespread objection to the principle of state- 
ownership so much as opposition to the high price 
the Government was being asked to pay. A feeling, 
too, that in the highly expensive matter of railway 
construction over the Alps, in which Switzerland 
was to make great progress during the period under 
review, private companies would have greater success 
in obtaining foreign government subventions than 
would the Federal Government — this prudent motive 
also had something to do with the objection to 
federal ownership of the railways. 

Six years later the Federal Council again 
approached the problem and drew up, as is its 


custom on occasions of similar appeals to the people, 
a message to the Swiss people in favour of buying 
the railways. The principle was adopted by the 
Federal Assembly, and then came the demand of the 
opponents of federal ownership for a referendum. 
This took place after a vigorous campaign by the 
upholders and antagonists of the proposal, and 
resulted, in February, 189S, in a victory for the 
Government, by a majority cf over two to one. By 
its Bill, which thus had secured the fullest possible 
popular assent, the Federal Council was authorized 
to acquire the five great Swiss railway systems, 
and other smaller lines when occasion demanded it. 
In 1901 the Government began to take the lines 
over, beginning with the Central Railway, which was 
acquired in 1 901, proceeding with Central and 
North- Eastern, United Swiss and Jura Sunplon, 
— the Simplon Tunnel was pierced in 1906 — until 
finally, in 1909, the St. Gothard, became federal 
property. This last, it may be noted, was the cause 
of a small but not unimportant crisis in Swiss 
foreign politics, for when the railway passed into 
federal hands a new convention became necessary 
with the Powers who had signed the earlier 
agreement of 1870, Germany and Italy. By this, 
under the date October 13th, 1909, the Confedera- 
tion undertook to carry traffic on the St. Gothard 
at the same rate as on the other federal lines, and 
to give to the Italian and German railways the same 
advantages as might be granted to other railways 
outside Switzerland. I here was an immediate out- 
cry against the terms 01 the whole Convention, which 


was held not only seriously to curtail Switzerland's 
freedom of action, but to give Germany and Italy 
altogether too great concessions. For a consider- 
able period the Federal Government withheld its 
ratification, and in 191 1 a petition of 116,000 Swiss 
citizens was handed in, praying for the total rejection 
of the agreement. This, of course, was not possible, 
and in 191 3 the Convention was ratified. It re- 
mained a source of discontent, however, and was 
not finally disposed of until, in the Peace Treaty 
of 1919, Germany agreed to modifications. 

Before passing to the question of the re-organiza- 
tion of the Army, we may pass in review the other 
outstanding attempts at the extension of federal 
control until the outbreak of the Great European 

The first sphere — after those which have already 
been mentioned — in which this control took effect 
was in that of the Swiss forests. It was felt that 
the great woods which cover the lower slopes of the 
Swiss mountains were, particularly in the total lack 
of coal, so much a part of the Confederation's 
national wealth, that it would be better to <^ntralize 
the administration of them. Thus there was 
accepted, by referendum in 1897, a proposal for 
centralizing the control of forests and placing the 
forest police under federal direction. 

In the following year a referendum took place 
with reference to the federal judicial system. Two 
votes were held, and as a result the unification of 
the civil and criminal code was handed over to 
the Confederation. The practical work to be done 


with a view to carrying out the first decision of the 
Swiss people was undertaken by Professor Eugen 
Huber, whose draft of the code, after several years 
of labour upon it, was accepted with few changes 
in 1907, and came into force in 1912. The criminal 
code took longer in drafting, and was not completed 
until the year 1917. With the coming into force 
of this code the whole of Swiss law was federalized 
and the cantonal differences of judicial procedure 
were to a considerable extent abolished. The 
decision of 1898 was a most important step 
towards centralization and unification. 

Never in the history of Switzerland, however, has 
the centralizing tendency been unchallenged. Even 
in the case of the judicial system, just discussed, 
there was compromise. The setting up of a Federal 
Supreme Court and the unification of Swiss law did 
not mean the complete cessation of the cantonal 
separate administration. The basis of compromise 
between federal centralism, as in many other, 
was found by allowing the Federal Court to 
make decisions and give judgments, while the actual 
carrying out of those decisions was left in the hands 
of the cantons. A still greater freedom was left 
to the cantons in the matter of education. The 
Constitution of 1874 gave the Federal Government 
the power of interfering in the administration of 
the cantons in the matter of education should it 
not reach a certain standard. Further encroach- 
ments were for some years prevented by the 
referendum of 1882, which disallowed the establish- 
ment of a Federal Secretary of Education. Religious 


feeling, particularly among the Catholics, was at 
that time too strong. It was twenty years later that 
a referendum accepted the proposal that the Federal 
Government should be permitted to subsidize the 
cantons with a view to increasing the efficiency of 
elementary education. Apart from this, however, 
and the fixing by the Confederation of certain 
minimum requirements, the cantons enjoy almost 
complete autonomy in educational matters, and on 
the whole distinguish themselves not only by the 
efficiency of their administration, particularly on the 
technical side, but also by the general absence of 
party bickering and religious intolerance as factors 
in the education question. 

The last and most stubbornly contested sphere 
in the struggle between the Confederation and the 
cantons was that of Army Administration. The 
Constitution of 1848 had left the military organiza- 
tion largely in the hands of the cantons. The new 
Constitution of 1874 made progress in centralization, 
but it was felt that greater uniformity must be 
secured if the defence of the country's neutrality 
— and Switzerland's assumption of the responsibility 
for her own defence is a cardinal point in her history 
and policy — was to be assured. Hence there came, 
in 1895, a movement for placing the Army still more 
under federal control. A considerable agitation was 
the result, and a referendum held in that year 
showed a majority against the proposed changes 
in the 1874 Constitution. The party of the reformers, 
however, did not relax their efforts, and in April 
1907 similar proposals to those of 1895 were again 


embodied in a Bill, which had to be submitted 
to referendum. This time the decision was in favour 
by 329,953 votes to 267,605 of the changes, and the 
federal act respecting military organization became 
part of the law of the Confederation. As this law 
forms the foundation of Switzerland's military 
system, which has been widely noticed and closely 
studied abroad — in 1907 itself a British Commission 
was despatched to Switzerland for the purpose of 
studying the proposals — it will be worth while to 
examine the scheme in some detail. 

In the first place, the principle of universal military 
service is re-affirmed. The first clause reads: " Every 
Swiss is liable to military service {jvehrpflichtig). The 
liability embraces : the duty of personal fulfilment 
of military service — military service liability ; and 
the duty of payment for a substitute — military tax 
liability." The tax is levied on those who are totally 
unfit to perform military service ; it in no way 
implies avoidance of service. Liability for service 
commences at the twentieth year and extends to 
the forty-eighth ; the recruitment and examination 
as to medical and mental fitness takes place each 
year under the supervision of the Confederation and 
with the assistance of the cantonal authorities. It 
may be noted that the average of total rejections 
is 14 per cent. The Army is divided, as 
Article 35 states, into the First Line or "elite" 
{Auszitg), the men of from twenty to thirty-two 
years of age ; the Landwehr, or men of from thirty- 
three to forty ; and the Landsturm, or men of from 
forty to forty-eight. The amount of service required 


to be rendered depends in part on which class a 
man finds himself, partly on what branch of the 
Army he may be assigned to — Infantry, Cavalry, 
Artillery, Engineers, Sanitary Units, and the like. 
The essential facts may be stated by saving that the 
raw recruit in the Infantry arm serves sixty-five days, 
and thereafter about eleven days a year until he 
passed into the Landwehr ; the recruit to the Artillery 
seventy-five days and fourteen days similarly ; and 
the Cavalryman ninety days when called up, and also 
eleven days annually until he entered the Landwehr. 
The other branches of service differ very slightly 
from these. It is thus made clear that, by com- 
parison with the systems of her neighbours, France 
and Germany in particular, Switzerland's organiza- 
tion placed a very small burden on her population 
and avoided almost altogether the maintenance of 
a standing army in peace time. Her Army was 
purely a citizen army. 

The administrative proposals embodied in the 
law of 1907 also were free from the atmosphere 
of militarism as generally associated with the great 
continental conscript armies. On this point the 
section concerning the training of officers is very 
illuminating. Article 130 fixes the period of train- 
ing as eighty days for those destined to become 
officers in the Infantry, Cavalry or Fortification 
Services, one hundred and five days for the 
Artillery and Engineers, sixty days for the Service 
Corps, and forty-five days for the Ambulance, Sanitary, 
and Veterinary detachments. The rise of anything 
in the nature of an officer caste before the Great War 


seemed out of the question. In time of peace there 
is no commander-in-chief, the control over the whole 
organization being undertaken by the Federal Mili- 
tary Department, the head of which presided over a 
National Defence Commission (Landesverteidigungs- 
kommission), through which control was exercised so 
long as a general commanding was not nominated 
by the Federal Assembly, as would be the case only 
in the event or probability of war. 

Such, in brief, is the basis of the Swiss military 
system which was laid down in the law of April, 
1907. Its practical results, until the outbreak of the 
Great European War, can be rapidly examined. 
Experts appear to agree that, in spite of the short- 
ness of training, the troops were very efficient. The 
cost of upkeep was not burdensome. Up to the year 
1914 the average annual cost of the Swiss Army to 
the Confederation — which adequately supports the 
dependents of soldiers during service and insures 
the troops against sickness and accidents — was 
approximately 45,000,000 francs. This was for an 
efficient force of about 145,000 men — the Auszug — 
90,000 Landwehr, and 45,000 Landsturm. It was 
this force which, at the threat of a European War, 
sprang to the defence of Switzerland's frontiers and 
the guarding of her neutrality 



With the outbreak of the Great European War 
the Confederation of Switzerland, even more than 
most of the belligerent countries, entered upon an 
extremely critical phase of her national existence. 
She was not threatened by military invasion ; in the 
first days of the war the Powers which, as signatories 
to the Treaty of Vienna, undertook to respect her 
neutrality and territorial inviolability, Great Britain, 
France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, one after 
another hastened to repeat their assurances. But 
this was a formal guarantee which did not relieve the 
country from the necessity of immediately mobilizing 
its whole army — totalling over 200,000 men — and 
maintaining it on a war footing ; it also did not mean 
immunity from very considerable economic dangers. 
Switzerland, shut off from the sea and almost com- 
pletely dependent on the belligerent countries for her 
very material existence, saw herself face to face with 
perilous interference with the imports which sustained 
her life and the exports which maintained her credit 
and paid for her foodstuffs and raw materials. 


To all this was to be added the danger of what 
may be called moral invasion, an influencing of Swiss 
national sympathies in favour of one belligerent 
group or the other which might produce serious 
consequences for the unity of the country — that unity 
which the Army symbolized and so many recent 
years of legislation and education had done so 
much to consolidate. German-speaking Swiss might 
become so pro-German, French-speaking Swiss so 
pro- French, that both would be in danger of forget- 
ting that they were Swiss ; and further than this, 
the warring nations on both sides would have an 
interest in wooing their friends and trying to dis- 
comfit their enemies in the neutral ground which 
stood between them. That presented a great political 
embarrassment which might at any moment develop 
into a real military or economic danger. It was 
clear that if Belgium was going once more, in 
accordance with her historic fate and by the ruthless 
act of a Great Power, to be the military cockpit of 
Europe, Switzerland was going to be — to a degree 
which showed no previous parallel — the cockpit of 
public opinion. It was with considerations such as 
this that the Federal Council, With the first serious 
threat of war, took measures to ensure the main- 
tenance of the country's neutrality in all respects, 
moral, as well as political, military, and economic. 

On August 2nd, 1914, the Federal Council issued a 
message to the Federal Assembly, proclaiming the 
neutrality of the country and requesting powers to 
undertake legislation with the object of maintaining 
that neutrality and ensuring the security of the 


nation. The following day the Federal Assembly 
conferred on the Federal Council those plenary 
powers pleins pouvoirs, Voll machten) which were 
to be so much the subject for criticism, but without 
which it may be supposed it would have been difficult 
for the executive to take such emergency measures 
as the circumstances frequently rendered necessary. 
In December 1914 the Federal Council presented a 
report on the manner in which its plenary powers 
had been exercised. Similar reports, called 
" neutrality reports " (Neutralitatsberichte), were issued 
at intervals during the war, but this first, giving as it 
does a comprehensive view of the beginnings of Swiss 
emergency war-legislation and providing a number 
of excellent examples of the manner in which the 
various federal administrations, having attained a 
fairly high degree of centralization during the years 
immediately preceding, deserves particular notice. 

In the first place the Federal Council recounted 
how it had issued a declaration of neutrality to all 
the Powers and belligerent countries, and how this 
had been received by the principal governments con- 
cerned with a declaration that they would respect 
Swiss neutrality, by the other with a courteous 
acknowledgment. The report proceeded to describe 
the arrangements made for controlling the Press, 
with the object of preventing offences against 
neutrality ; the setting up of the Agence des Prison- 
niers de Guerre, after the Geneva Red Cross, the 
first of Switzerland's many impartial organizations 
of charity as between the belligerents ; the steps 
taken to bring about the repatriation of interned 


civilians not between the ages of seventeen and sixty, 
another beneficent enterprise ; the measures taken 
to conserve essential supplies, particularly coal and 
corn ; the restrictions on exports ; the prohibition of 
the manufacture of potato-spirit in the interests of the 
food supply ; the dismantling of wireless stations ; the 
means taken for dealing with unemployment. Finally, 
the Report devotes its attention to the question of 
federal finance, the moratorium, the issue of bank- 
notes for small denominations, and the like. In this 
final and important section the claim is made, with 
justification, that the Swiss National Bank, so dis- 
puted a few years previously, had been " the effective 
regulator of the money market and the firmest 
support of our national credit." 

In spite of the optimistic tone of this Report, the 
anxieties of the Swiss Federal Government, even 
during the first few months of the war, were by no 
means inconsiderable. The danger of deliberate 
territorial invasion was removed, but small and 
apparently unpremeditated breaches of the country's 
neutrality on the part of one belligerent or another 
were fairly frequent. Up to May 19 16 there were 
twenty-four distinct violations of the Swiss frontier 
by hostile aviators, the majority of them German, 
and this number was very much increased later. 
But these, although often causing material damage 
in the frontier districts, were of small account in com- 
parison with the invasion of ideas, the violation of 
moral neutrality. The Federal Council was only 
acting in accordance with Switzerland's traditional 
policy in proclaiming the country's neutrality; it 


could not, and many people said it had no right t > 
attempt to control the attitude of individual Swiss 
citizens towards the belligerents. The question was 
to decide how far the free expression of individual 
opinions was calculated to prejudice the neutral 
position of the nation as a whole. 

A superficial view of Swiss opinion during the 
war would have summed it up in the words : "The 
French-Swiss are pro-French, the German-Swiss 
pro-German," a short way of defining Switzerland's 
attitude which may have seemed justified by what 
was known of Franco-Swiss and Germano-Swiss 
relations prior to the year 1914. In politics the 
Republican traditions of France and Switzerland 
seemed to draw both countries very closely together, 
though the excessive centralization of the French 
Government was quite foreign to Swiss traditions. 
Intellectually the two countries seemed to be more 
apart, a fact which is to be ascribed to the insular 
character of French educational institutions, their 
protectionnismc intellectuel. German-speaking Swit- 
zerland, on the other hand, although it did not share 
the political faith of its great imperial neighbour, 
more than restored the balance by a whole-hearted 
admiration for and imitation of German academic 
ideals. This tendency was assiduously encouraged 
by the German university authorities. Germans 
from the Empire were to be found in large numbers 
as Professors and Dozenten at the German-Swiss 
universities and high schools. For the university 
professors of foreign nationality on the staffs of the 
Swiss universities the following comparative table is 


instructive: Basle, 33 per cent. ; Zurich, 24 per cent. ; 
Bern, 21 per cent.; Lausanne, 17 per cent.; Neu- 
chatel, 13 per cent.; Geneva, 13 per cent. The 
origin of these foreign professors was to be classified 
as follows : Germany, 60 per cent. ; France, 14 per 
cent. ; other countries (United States and Italy in par- 
ticular), 26 per cent. Until the outbreak of the war 
both factors, the political sympathy of the French- 
Swiss with France and the intellectual sympathy of 
the German-Swiss, explicable enough in the light of 
the figures just given, were approximately the same 
in their results. 

The invasion of Belgium, however, brought about 
a momentary revulsion of feeling, even among 
German-Swiss with a great admiration for German 
culture. Carl Spitteler, for example, Switzerland's 
greatest poet of the twentieth century, whose epics, 
above all his Olympischer Friihling (Olympian 
Spring), had a very large number of admirers in 
the German Empire, very early expressed his honor 
at the violation of Belgian neutrality, an utterance 
which cost him the loss of a great deal of popularity. 
The same attitude, with like results, was taken up by 
Ferdinand Hodler, Switzerland's greatest twentieth- 
century painter. These two distinguished men of 
imagination spoke for a solid body of German-Swiss 
opinion which was not well represented by its news- 
papers, where the factor of propaganda came into 
play. The true attitude of the Swiss, of the German- 
Swiss in particular, was for long obscured for outside 
observers by the very powerful and heavily-subsidized 
German publicity. As a consequence of this attack 


on Switzerland's intellectual position, often helped 
from the inside by a large number of Germans of 
recent Swiss naturalization — in this connection it 
may be mentioned that the iqio census showed that 
over a third of the foreign population, about 22,000, 
was German— it was during the European War 
almost impossible to understand the actual state of 
affairs. If any one doubted the common statement 
that German-speaking Switzerland was almost 
entirely pro-German, he was invited to look at the 
German-Swiss Press, and, not understanding the 
hidden workings of German propaganda, he was 
forced to admit himself to be in the wrong. It was 
in this way that a misleading formula on Swiss 
opinion came to be adopted. 

The fact, of course, is that during the Great 
European War the vast majority of Swiss citizens 
were Swiss patriots, and prepared to waive their per- 
sonal sympathies when they conflicted with the 
national interests of the Confederation. There were, 
nevertheless, in the course of the war several incidents 
connected with foreign politics which caused domestic 
difficulties and greatly complicated the already in- 
tricate problem with which the geographical, political, 
and economic situation brought the Federal Council 
face to face. One of the first and most hotly-dis- 
cussed of these incidents was the so-called " two 
Colonels' affair," which caused the utmost excitement 
in Switzerland in the first months of 19 16. The two 
Colonels in question were named Wattenwyl and 
Egli respectively, and their duties were to furnish 
intelligence reports to the Swiss General Staff, the 


first supervising the Western Front and the second 
the Eastern. In February 191 6 they were both 
brought before a military court, charged with 
having for some munths previously communicated 
their reports to the German and Austrian Military 
Attaches respectively — a proceeding which might 
have had grave consequences for Switzerland's rela- 
tions with the other group of the belligerents. The 
defence of the Colonels, who were supported by the 
depositions of Colonel von Sprecher, the Chief of 
the Swiss General Staff, was to the effect that the 
documents shown to the German and Austrian 
Military Attaches were of no importance, and had, 
in any case, been shown with a view to obtaining 
further information. Disciplinary punishment only 
was meted out, and there was an immediate outcry 
in the French-Swiss Press which regarded the action 
of the court as pro-German. The occasion was also 
seized upon in certain quarters to expatiate upon the 
alleged pro-Germanism of the Swiss Army Command. 
To some extent there seemed grounds for this. 
Several officers in the Swiss Army, having studied 
in Germany, were, in the first months of the war, 
hypnotized by the extraordinary efficiency of the 
German military machine, and made it their en- 
deavour to imitate Germany military methods. 
"Der Starke Mann" (The Strong Man), by Paul 
Ilg, a noteworthy Swiss novel, published during the 
war, dealt in an arresting way with this question. 
But the danger of pressing the case against the 
Army too far, and thus playing into the hands of 
the Social Democratic extremists, who were opposed 



to national defence on principle, was soon seen, and 
the " two Colonels' affair," with one or two other 
similar incidents, was quickly allowed to subside. 

In interest and importance it was far surpassed by 
the so-called " Grimm- Hoffmann " affair, which at the 
time aroused world-wide attention. Herr Hoffmann 
was a Federal Councillor and head of the Political 
Department, that is, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs ; 
he had been President of the Confederation at the 
outbreak of the war. Herr Robert Grimm was a 
member of the National Council and a prominent 
Social Democrat. He had taken a very active share 
in September 191 5 in promoting what came to be 
called the " Zimmerwaldian Conference," from the 
place where it was held, which was composed of 
extremist Socialist delegates from various neutral or 
belligerent countries, and drew up a programme, the 
principal basis of which was an affirmation of the 
class-war and a consequent denial of the necessity 
for national defence. In 19 17 there were present in 
Switzerland a considerable number of Russian exiles, 
among them Lenin, awaiting an opportunity of 
returning to Russia now that the Revolution had 
made that possible. When the necessary permission 
for this had been obtained — a noteworthy date this, 
since it marks the first stage in the Russian B )lshevik 
Revolution — Grimm returned also with the party. 
On arriving at Petrograd Grimm gave the Swiss 
Minister a telegram for Herr Hoffmann, to the effect 
that it would be desirable if some idea could be 
obtained as to the views of the various governments 
on the terms of peace, for the Russian Revolutionary 


Government was anxious to call together an inter- 
national conference with a view to bringing the war 
to an end. Herr Hoffmann, in a cypher message 
transmitted to the Swiss Minister for Herr Grimm's 
information, replied that he was convinced that Ger- 
many wished to conclude an honourable peace with 
Russia, and was willing to suspend her offensive so 
long as there appeared a reasonable chance of her 
doing so. This telegram of the Swiss Foreign 
Minister was in some way intercepted, decyphered, 
and published in the Sozialdemokrdten, the leading 
Socialist newspaper of Sweden. There was at once 
a severe commentary in the Press of the Entente, for 
the facts seemed to point to unneutral action under- 
taken with a view to bringing about a separate peace 
between Germany and her Allies and one of the 
opposing belligerents. Some of the Allied news- 
papers called for an enquiry into this international 
incident. This was not, however, instituted. Herr 
Hoffmann, seeing the embarrassment into which he 
had brought his country, made a statement to the 
effect that he had acted entirely on his own respon- 
sibility, and then handed in his resignation. He was 
succeeded as Federal Councillor by M. Gustave Ador, 
the President of the International Red Cross at 
Geneva, a selection which did much to allay feeling 
in the countries of the Entente and also please 
French-Swiss opinion. It was also decided that .the 
conduct of Foreign Affairs should henceforth be in 
the hands of the President of the Confederation, thus 
ensuring a new Foreign Minister every year. A 
Swiss enquiry was later held into Herr Hoffmann's 


conduct, and a verdict given to the effect that he had 
acted in good faith. 

In regard to Germany, too, as well as in regard 
to the Entente, Switzerland had her troubles. 
Excessive applications for naturalization from Ger- 
mans, the presence of an ever-increasing number 
of German spies and other intelligence agents — one 
of the most notorious of these, a certain Behrmann^ 
was expelled in 1917 — the formation of aggressive 
German propagandist organizations, and the conse- 
quent retaliation of French-speaking Switzerland — 
all these were a constant preoccupation of the 
Federal Council and the occasion of frequent bitter 
controversy in the Swiss Press and on the platform. 
The most serious difficulties of all, however, were 
in the economic sphere. It was an important part 
of the blockade plans of the Entente against Ger- 
many that essential goods should not pass through 
Switzerland into enemy territory or become substi- 
tutes for goods which Swiss exporters could forward 
to Germany and her Allies. But this policy meant 
certain retaliation on the part of the Germans. 
They, too, had essential goods, such as coal, and 
might lay down hard conditions. In 191 5 an 
attempt was made, on the Entente side, to deal with 
the matter. This was by the establishment of an 
organization commonly called the S.S.S., or Societe 
Suisse de Surveillance, a Swiss organization set up 
under approval of the Entente with a view to 
satisfying enquiries about the destination of Entente 
imports and ensuring that Switzerland did not 
receive more than her proper supply of raw 


materials and foodstuffs from the countries of the 
Entente, or use these to the advantage of Germany. 
Naturally this was the occasion of a vast amount 
of diplomatic activity throughout the course of the 
war. In June 1916, for example, Germany inti- 
mated that her exports to Switzerland of coal and 
iron depended on the supply in return of certain 
materials, such as fats and cotton, which Switzer- 
land could sell, but was not allowed by the S.S.S. 
to export. Pourparlers followed with both the 
Entente and with Germany, and eventually an 
agreement was reached with the latter according 
to which the materials essential to Swiss industry 
would be supplied by Germany in return for cattle. 
Negotiations of this kind, first with one side, then 
with the other, were constantly needing to be under- 
taken, for in no case did an agreement last more 
than a few months. In the last stages of the war 
the economic dilemma into which Switzerland found 
herself placed resolved itself into an opposition 
between German coal and iron and American corn. 
Only very skilful bargaining on both sides, and the 
strictest rationing of the Swiss population, staved 
off extreme hardship or economic disaster. 

The discontent fostered by material distress which 
every country in the world experienced during the 
Great War did not leave Switzerland unscathed. As 
the war was prolonged the opposition of the extreme 
elements in Switzerland to the established social 
order increased. On the whole, the Swiss Socialistic 
Party was much under the influence of German 
Social Democracy ; certain of its prominent members 


were Germans who had naturalized themselves 
as Swiss and maintained close relations with their 
former comrades. This did not prevent the party 
as a whole from taking up an attitude of general 
opposition to all "imperialism" and affirming in 
various party congresses, as well as in the inter- 
national Social Democratic conferences — attended 
only by extremists in every case — of Zimmerwald, 
in September 191 5, and Kienthal, April 1916. that 
war was an outcome of the capitalist regime. Such 
resolutions were invariably followed up by vague 
revolutionary resolutions bearing on anti-militarism 
and class war. Swiss Socialist hostility to the Army 
was considerable before the year 1914, but during 
the war it was much more intensified. On June 10th 
a general party Congress held at Bern placed on 
record a resolution, adopted by 222 votes to jj, 
declaring its opposition on principle to all national 
defence. The figures indicated a division of opinion 
in the ranks of the party which still persists — the 
division between those Socialists who subordinate 
their nationality to a general class war and those 
Socialists who believe either that such class war is 
either inexpedient or undesirable. In the extremist 
turn given at critical moments to the Swiss Socialist 
Party during the war the influence may be traced of 
those foreign agitators who were later to bring about 
the Bolshevik Revolution. The matter is important 
enough in relation to Switzerland's international 
position to demand attention in some detail. 

Switzerland's traditional policy of free asylum for 
political refugees had frequently led her into political 


difficulties, either within her own borders or with 
neighbouring states, and had tended to make certain 
of her towns — Zurich, Geneva, and Basle above all — 
recognized meeting-places for internationalist agita- 
tors. After the Russian Revolution of 1905, for 
example, certain of the revolutionary leaders, among 
them the group of which Lenin was the principal 
member, went to Geneva, where they established 
their newspaper. During the Great War, finding 
Switzerland a country most favourably situated both 
geographically and politically as a centre from which 
they might radiate their ideas and spread their 
doctrine, they carried on a regular communist 
campaign. Several of Lenin's most remarkable 
essays were published first at Geneva. 

This work attracted a considerable following. 
There were first the extremist members of the Swiss 
Social Democratic Party itself, foremost among them 
Robert Grimm, who then edited the party organ, the 
Berner Tagwacht. To him and his comrades there 
were added a large number of non-Swiss revolu- 
tionaries, deserters and refractaires from the neigh- 
bouring countries at war. Together they formed 
an element in the Socialist Party which was to 
cause much disturbance, both to the party and the 
country as a whole, during the years of war and 
the period that immediately followed. From an 
early date a comprehensive programme was put in 
hand, in the drawing up of which it was alleged that 
Lenin had himself taken a considerable share. The 
main points of this were: the transformation of all 
strikes and industrial disputes into excuses for 


revolutionary political activity ; the promotion of a 
direct federal tax ; the refusal to bear arms in 
defence of Switzerland's neutrality. 

There were frequent strikes during the years of 
war, and two, one in November 19 17, and the second 
in November 191 8, were serious. They were quelled 
in a few days by the military, but not before blood 
had been shed. Their general effect was to make 
the Socialist Party extremely unpopular and pro- 
mote disagreements in its ranks. The demand for 
a direct federal tax, with a consequent alteration 
of the Constitution, was an old Social Democratic 
party cry. During the war the party succeeded in 
bringing about a referendum on the question, but 
the voting, in June 191S, showed a majority of 
about 40,000 against the measure — a sign that, in 
spite of events of previous years, cantonal feeling 
was still strong. One result, in fact, of the exercise 
of the plcins pouvoirs of the Federal Council during 
the European War was to strengthen the advocates 
of federalization. 

The next activity of the Swiss Social Democratic 
Party was directed against the so-called Second 
Internationale. This organization met at Bern in 
February 191 5 — after the Armistice of November 
191 8, as during the war Switzerland continued to 
be a favourite platform for all kinds of international 
activities — but the Swiss Socialist Party refused to 
participate. It followed up this resolution with a 
decision to adhere to the so-called Third Moscow 
Internationale — which decision was in September 
vetoed by a referendum of the party, thus more 

the igig elections. 44 1 

than ever divided against itself. The Social 
Democrats nevertheless succeeded in obtaining an 
increase of seats in the general elections to the 
National Council held in October 1919. This 
was due to the fact that in that year, for the first 
time in the National Council elections, there was 
applied the principle of proportional representa- 
tion, which became law in February 19 19. The 
Socialist gains were largely at the expense of 
the Radical Party, which had hitherto been the 
dominant force in Swiss party-political life. The 
state of the parties which assembled at the end of 
1 9 19 was as follows, a trustworthy indication of the 
feeling in the country : 

Radicals ...... 60 

Catholic Conservatives . . . • 41 

Social Democrats ... 41 

Peasants' Party (founded only in 1919) . 29 

Other parties 18 

Although in the final stages of the war largely 
preoccupied with her own troubles— her divided 
sympathies, her foreign agitators, her strikes, and 
her somewhat serious financial position, for in spite 
of increased prosperity the Swiss found themselves 
at the end of 1919 face to face with the alternatives 
of heavy deficit or new taxation— in spite of such 
preoccupations as these Switzerland devoted a great 
deal of attention to the important problems which 
presented themselves as the European struggle drew 
to a close. In the first place the expected victoiy 

President of the Swiss Confederation, 1919. ■ 


of the Allies led to a change in the presidential 
succession. The general rule in Switzerland was 
for the Vice-President of the Federal Council to 
succeed to the Presidency in the following year. 
During 191 8 M. Calonder, a Romantsch Swiss, had 
been the President and in charge of the Political 
Department. His successor was designated as 
1\I. Eduard Miiller, a German-Swiss. At the begin- 
ning of November a movement was started for 
electing as President M. Ador, the much-respected 
President of the International Red Cross, who had 
been elected to the Federal Council after the Grimm- 
Hoffmann affair. It was felt that he would be best 
fitted to deal with the difficult questions affecting 
Swiss interests which awaited negotiation when the 
Peace Conference at Paris was commenced, and he 
was elected to the Presidency for the year 1919, 
one of the most important years in the history of 
Switzerland, as of. Europe in general. 

Certain of the Swiss papers had inclined to look 
upon the Paris Peace Conference as an oppor- 
tunity for making good certain territorial claims 
which had been left unsatisfied at the Congress of 
Vienna — the city of Constance, for example, or 
small rectifications of frontier round the town of 
Schaffnausen. To these questions were added the 
desire, expressed after the revolution of 1918 in 
Vienna, and supported considerably in Switzerland, 
of the Austrian province of Vorarlberg to enter the 
Confederation as a new canton. Most of these terri- 
torial considerations were, however, abandoned, or at 
least postponed, as the actual negotiations approached, 


and the attention of Swiss diplomats who proceeded 
to Paris in the last resort concentrated itself on four 
main questions : the revision of the St. Gothard 
Treaty, the freedom of Rhine navigation, the regu- 
lation of the status of the so-called "free zones" 
round Geneva, and the League of Nations and Swit- 
zerland's position therein. It will be convenient to 
notice all these in some detail, since each concerned 
Switzerland very closely and formed the subject of 
separate sections of the Treaty of Peace with 

The St. Gothard Treaty of 1909 was, as has 
already been made clear, a subject of profound dis- 
satisfaction to the greater part of the Swiss people 
from the moment of its publication. It was held 
to constitute an encroachment on Swiss sovereignty, 
and to place undue restrictions on her freedom of 
economic action. More than this, its main provi- 
sion, to the effect that Swiss railway rates over the 
line were not to be raised unless the German and 
Italian railways raised their clues, was held to be 
unjust, since Switzerland had had all the expense of 
upkeep of the railway during the years of war with 
practically no return, the line becoming disused for 
international traffic after the entry of Italy into the 
war. Hence there was an excellent case, the justice 
of which the Germans were apparently willing to 
acknowledge, for revising the Convention. This was 
definitely decided at the Versailles Conference, and 
Article 374 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany 
expressly stipulates that Germany, on request of 
Switzerland, in agreement with Italy, shall revise 


the Convention within ten years of the date of the 
Treaty, or, failing a satisfactory revision, submit 
the matter to an arbitrator to be named by the 
United States. 

This gave considerable satisfaction in Switzerland. 
'1 he clauses in the Peace Treaty dealing with the 
Rhine and the Savoy Zones did not meet with quite 
unqualified approval. The Swiss nation, conscious 
of its position as a land-locked state, has always 
been a firm upholder of the principle of the freedom 
of Rhine navigation, that river being her principal 
means of communication with the sea. So vitally 
important was this question of Rhine navigation, 
with other allied questions, frequently raised in 
recent years, and above all during the European 
War, of so canalizing the Rhone so as to make pos- 
sible, via that river, communication from the Rhine to 
the Mediterranean, or the suggestion for constructing 
canals so as to give Switzerland, from the Ticino, 
an outlet on the Adriatic — so vitally important for 
Switzerland's industry and food position were these 
matters realized to be that, in May 1919 a popular 
vote approved by the great majority of 400,000 to 
8,000, of an addition to the Federal Constitution 
bestowing on the Confederation the power of legis- 
lating on matters of river navigation. The various 
Swiss representatives who, headed by the President, 
M. Ador, went to Paris between January 1919 and 
the signing of the Peace Treaty with Germany, made 
this question of the navigation on the Rhine one of 
their principal subjects of discussion ; their object 
was to obtain absolutely unrestricted liberty for all 


vessels, with the result that Basle would become the 
equivalent of a Swiss seaport. 

In the clauses of the Treaty — Articles 354-362 — 
dealing with the Rhine, Swiss aims were not com- 
pletely realized. It is true that a Central Rhine 
Commission was set up for the purpose of regulating 
the question, and that Switzerland, which had not 
been invited to accede to the Mannheim Convention 
of 1S68, the instrument by which the matter had 
hitherto been conducted, was given two places on 
the new body. 

This was generally welcomed. But a later clause, 
giving France the right of constructing a lateral 
canal between Strasbourg and Basle, was looked 
upon with much disfavour, as likely to impede 
navigation for the possibly lengthy period of con- 
struction — a suggestion which had always met with 
the most strenuous opposition in Switzerland. The 
matter is one on which Switzerland is, of necessity, 
extremely vigilant. To a very large extent — 
potentially to an enormous extent, for an improve- 
ment of the Rhine channel would, it is estimated, 
enable the total tonnage to be increased from the 
100,000 of 19 1 3 to 1,000,000 — the growth and 
security of Swiss trade and food supplies, especially 
in relation to Great Britain and the United States, 
depends on the unfettered access of merchant ships 
to the port of Basle. 

The question of the so-called free zones {pones 
/ranches) of Gex, Saint-Julien, Thonon and Bonne- 
ville, has a very long history — -the first of them 
having been made and its neutrality agreed upon 


as long ago as the beginning of the seventeenth 
century. At the Congress of Vienna, in I S 1 5, the 
question of neutrality of the Zones was raised by 
Sardinia, in whose possession they then were, and 
neutralization was decided upon by the Powers, with 
a view to protecting the territory against France, and 
assisting in some way to compensate for their very 
weak strategic position. No fortifications in the 
area prescribed were to be erected, and in the event 
of war the provinces might be occupied by Swiss 
troops. These conditions, called the " military 
servitudes," with a number of economic " servitudes," 
imposed with the object of facilitating the exchange 
of goods between the Zones and the Canton of 
Geneva, whose extreme!}' circumscribed situation 
is easy to recognize from a mere glance at the 
map -these were the conditions which, given 
recognition again when, in i860, the territory 
passed from Sardinia to France, prevailed up to 
and during the Great European War. The Swiss 
during the War were a little perturbed by the 
reported establishment of French Customs officers 
in the district, but a satisfying explanation was 
given. In another way, too, Swiss susceptibilities 
were respected, for the concurrence of the Con- 
federation was sought when the French Government 
wished to send some of its wounded soldiers into the 
Zones to recuperate. Towards the end of the War 
there was considerable discussion as to the abroga- 
tion of the neutrality of tin: Zones, and in Article- 4^5 
of the Peace Treaty Germany, as party to the 
arrangements made by the Congress of Vienna, 


was required to recognize such new regulations of 
the matter which might be arrived at by the Swiss 
and French Governments in consultation. The 
general result of the discussions between French 
and Swiss diplomatic representatives was that 
the Swiss Government, subject to the approval of 
the Swiss people, agreed to the abrogation of the 
neutrality of the Zones in a military sense, provided 
that the neutrality of the Swiss Confederation were 
given renewed recognition, and certain economic 
arrangements in favour of Geneva conceded. So 
ended a long-standing international agreement, 
which, though of undoubted additional security 
to Switzerland at various times in her history, 
had, it was felt, lost all meaning with the coming 
into being of a League of Nations. 

During the European War there was a great deal 
of enthusiasm for the idea of a League of Nations, 
and one of the most widely noticed utterances on 
the subject from among the neutrals was a speech 
delivered in June, 1918, by the President for the 
year, M. Calonder. With the commencement of the 
Peace Conference, however, a number of peculiar 
Swiss difficulties began to be given prominence, 
and a special commission of the Swiss Government 
was set up with a view to preparing a draft of such 
a plan of a League of Nations to which Switzerland 
could adhere. The question resolved itself into an 
endeavour to reconcile Swiss participation in the 
League with the preservation of Swiss neutrality, 
the cardinal principle of Switzerland's historical de- 
velopment and guarantee of her independence. But 


the idea of perpetual and unconditional neutrality 
was not favoured in Paris, and the Swiss, their own 
proposals neglected, found themselves face to face 
with the necessity of taking the Paris Covenant as 
it stood or of remaining outside the League. The 
choice was assisted a little by the decision on the 
part of the Peace Conference to establish the head- 
quarters of the League at Geneva. This resolution, 
one of the most important events in the history 
of the Confederation, was passed by twelve votes 
to eight in the Supreme Council on April 11, 
supported, as against Brussels, by President Wilson 
and the British and Italian representatives, and gave 
occasion to scenes of great rejoicing in the Swiss 
city. It nevertheless did not materially reduce the 
gravity of the decision which the Swiss Government 
was called upon to make. The Federal Council, as 
its custom is in these matters of great national 
importance, requiring popular approbation and co- 
operation, in August addressed a "message" to 
the Federal Assembly. This masterly and weighty 
document summed up all the pros and cons of the 
question from the Swiss point of view, appending 
all the documents necessary to enable the Swiss 
Deputies and the population generally to arrive at 
a decision. A full and very frank exposition of the 
Paris Covenant led up to the conclusion that, 
although that document was not perfect, yet it 
would be to the advantage of Switzerland to adhere 
to the League and trust to the recognition of Swiss 
neutrality in the clause on the Savoy Zone and to 
the section of the League Covenant (Article XXI), 



excepting " international engagements " and " re- 
gional understandings," to render the maintenance 
of Swiss neutrality compatible with adherence to 
the League. 

This impartial and impressive presentation of the 
case had a marked effect, for in the National Council 
of September 10, 1919, adherence to the League was 
recommended by twenty-one votes to four. Then, 
however, a new election was decided upon. It was 
thought that a new legislature, elected upon the 
principle of proportional representation, would be 
better fitted to deal with the question. This election 
took place, with the results already indicated. The 
opposition to the League had in the meantime 
dwindled down to the extreme Social Democrats, 
who were unwavering in their hostility, and one or 
two Catholics, who resented the exclusion of the 
Pope, and Switzerland's entry was formally decided 
in November, 19 19. 

Thus Switzerland entered the League and accepted 
the honour of having one of her cities chosen as the 
headquarters of it. With the decision not all her 
anxieties were ended. The prospect of the absorp- 
tion of Austria by German)', for example, for some 
time troubled Swiss opinion and maintained strong 
feeling in favour of admitting the Austrian province 
of Vorarlberg as a new canton. The extreme low- 
ness of the exchanges, too, threatened to lead to a 
swamping of the Swiss markets with foreign goods 
and occasion extensive alterations in Swiss tariff 
policy. Finally, the financial position of the Con- 
federation, which had had to bear the exDenses of 


mobilization and heavy losses on her railways — to 
the extent that at the end of the year 191 8 her 
National Debt had stood at ,£56,400,000 — gave 
cause for anxiety in spite of the growth of trade. 
By wise and tactful handling, however, and owing 
to the innate good political sense of her leaders 
and her population, this and other difficulties were 
surmounted. At the end of the year 1919, her 
national unity re-affirmed, her prestige among the 
countries of the world raised to a higher point than 
ever before in her history, and the steadiness and 
industry of her people and her political system 
proved beyond a doubt, Switzerland turned herself 
in the direction of a future of social and material 
progress and increased political and moral influence. 



OUR history must be brought to a close with a 
brief account of several important matters on which 
little has as yet been said, namely, the industrial 
condition of the country, its material and intellectual 
progress. It will be quite clear from what has 
preceded that scarcely any other country has had 
to contend with so many natural disadvantages 
as Switzerland in carrying on her industries and 
establishing her trade. The difficulty of the country, 
the almost total absence of coal and total lack of 
iron, the want of navigable rivers, the scanty produce 
of the soil in the widespread mountain districts, 
the deprivation of seaboard — all these increased the 
severity of the struggle for national existence. The 
one material set-off of any consequence to all these 
disadvantages is the abundance of water-power, 
which is more and more turned to account. With 
this to aid them and with a remarkable natural 
ability the Swiss have turned their energies to a 
very great extent to the establishment and develop- 
ment of manufactures, paying thus for the food and 


other necessaries of life which they cannot entirely 
produce for themselves. It may here be pointed out 
parenthetically that the poverty of the country in 
the pre-manufacturing days was accounted for and 
in part excuses the old Swiss practice of hiring 
themselves out as soldiers to the highest bidder. 

To-day Switzerland competes successfully with 
some of the greatest manufacturing nations — 
England, France, Belgium. Raw material or half- 
finished goods are imported in vast quantities and 
finished goods are sent out. In 1913, the last full 
year before the outbreak of the European War, the 
total Swiss foreign trade, adding imports and exports 
together, amounted to ^132,067,924, the value of the 
imports exceeding that of the exports by nearly 
twenty-two millions Stirling. The Customs receipts 
for the same year were £3, 405,686. When these 
figures are considered in relation to the size of 
Switzerland's population and the area of her soil — 
almost one-quarter, which is unproductive — it needs 
little more to prove that the Swiss are a very 
energetic and businesslike people. Their business 
enterprise began to show itself prominently at the 
commencement of the nineteenth century, when a 
certain citizen of Zurich, one Egg, took 200 work- 
people and started a cotton factory near Naples, with 
plant complete, in spite of the difficulty of getting it 
through the blockade. To-day, as every one knows, 
the Swiss get their goods exported all over the 
world, and are themselves to be found everywhere, 
not only as waiters, but as engineering and technical 
experts, as architects and constructional experts. 


The following table of import and export statistics 

will be of interest : 


1913. 1917. 

I- Istuffs 599,255,216 francs 644,249,317 francs. 

Raw Materials 685,602,022 ,, 1,103,872,23! 

Finished Products .. 634,959,042 ,, 657,022,877 

Total 1.919,816,280 ,, 2,405,144,425 ,, 


1913. 1917. 

Foodstuffs 201,053.937 francs. 196,952,258 francs. 

Raw Materials 152,779,325 ,, 249,615,424 ,, 

Finished Products .. 1,022,565,854 ,, 1,876,385,789 ,, 

Switzerland imports chiefly from the neighbouring 

countries. In the years immediately preceding the 

outbreak of the European War by far the largest 

share in her import trade was held by Germany, 

while her exports were most taken by the German 

Empire, France, Great Britain, and Italy, as the 

following figures, also for 1913 and 1917 respectively, 

will show : 


(in thousands of francs). 

1913. 1917. 

German Empire 630,870 482,733 

France 347-985 3°5>4i3 

Great Britain 112,666 269,204 

Italy 207,025 3 6 9,3I2 

(in thousands of francs). 

1913. 1917. 

German Empire 305,660 698,454 

France 141,250 462,165 

Great Britain 236,165 361,540 

Italy 89.153 135.866 


Of the industries of Switzerland the largest as 
well as the oldest is the production of silk goods, 
which dates back to the thirteenth century, the chief 
seats being Zurich and Basle. Cotton manufacture 
is carried on at Zurich, Aargau, and St. Gall, among 
other places ; embroidery is made in large quantity 
at St. Gall and Appenzell ; watches at Neuchatel 
and Geneva. This last also has a great trade in 
jewellery and musical boxes. Then there are large 
manufactures of machinery — principally in and 
around Zurich — cheese, condensed milk and 
chocolate, while wood-carving is still carried on, 
though not, perhaps, to so great an extent as 
formerly. The 191 3 and 191 7 returns respectively 
of silk exports show — in thousands of francs — 
2 7^o37 an d 465,425, the greater part silk ribbons 
or other silk manufactured goods ; of cotton, 265,969 
and 359,714; of watches, 183,049 and 211,144; of 
machinery, 97,989 and 149,292 ; of chemicals, in the 
manufacture and export of which Switzerland made 
great progress during the first years of the twentieth 
century, 67,482 and 175,008. At the end of 1918 
there were in Switzerland 9,317 factories, employ- 
ing 381,170 workpeople. Labour exchanges, first 
established in 191 1, numbered at the same date 
sixteen, in receipt of a total federal subsidy of 
71,668 francs. 

This is not the place for minute details respecting 
the Swiss railway system ; for these the usual Swiss 
reference annuals may be consulted. But it may be 
noted that at the end of 19 17 the total length of the 
Swiss lines, excluding tramways and funiculars, was 


5,065 kilometres, as compared with 4,462 in the year 
1910, or 4,941 in 191 5. In 191 3 these railways 
transported 127,879 persons and 19,349 tons of 
goods; the respective figures for 1917 were 119,530 
and 20,346. A special feature of the Alpine lines, 
as every one knows, is the skill with which the 
engineering difficulties have been surmounted. The 
St. Gothard line, with its fifty tunnels, is the most 
conspicuous of these successes. This great inter- 
national enterprise owes its execution to Dr. Alfred 
Escher, of Zurich, and the famous engineer, Louis 
Favre, of Geneva. Vela, the Ticinese sculptor, 
produced a fine group of reliefs as a memento of the 
many unfortunate victims of the undertaking. The 
tunnel is between nine and ten miles long, and, 
begun in the year 1872, was completed in seven and 
a half years. The other great trans-Alpine tunnel 
passing through Switzerland, the Simplon, which is 
intended to serve for traffic between France and 
Italy, as the St. Gothard serves for traffic between 
Italy and Germany, was begun in 1898, and finished 
in 1905, the route being opened for traffic in the 
following year. The tunnel is twelve miles in length. 
There is no doubt that the increasingly thriving 
condition of Switzerland is chiefly due to three 
causes — the thriftiness of the people, their 
natural ability, and, above all, perhaps, to their 
excellent system of education. Matthew Arnold's 
praise of Swiss educational organization is- well 
known, and since his day considerable progress, 
particularly on the technical side, has been made. 
There are in Switzerland seven Universities: at 


Bern, Basle, Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg, 
and Neuchatel. These in the year 19 17 were 
attended by a total of 6,709 regular students, the 
total cantonal expenditure for the same period being 
4,809,353 francs. In addition there is the great Federal 
Technical U niver "sity (£ dig endssische technische Hock- 
schule), so entitled since the year 191 1, divided into 
departments for teaching Architecture, Engineering, 
Industrial Engineering, Technical Chemistry, Phar- 
macy,' Forestry, Agriculture, and Military subjects. 
In the academic year 19 17—19 18 it had a staff of 
187, and a total roll of students of 2,026, of whom 
569 were foreigners. Primary education is free, and, 
as with other branches, except the technical branch 
at Zurich, under the direct control of the cantons. 
A federal subvention to cantons was authorized in 
the year 1903 ; the total appropriations for education, 
federal, cantonal, and communal, amounted in the 
year 191 7 to 92,069,478 francs. Attendance at 
primary schools has been compulsory since the 
year 1874, and in 19 1 7 there were 557,179 children 
attending such schools. 

Of men of intellect, of talent, of artistic, scientific, 
or literary skill, Switzerland has' produced many, 
and has sheltered many more. Among the very 
numerous men of science living near our time may 
be mentioned Agassiz, the great naturalist ; among 
theologians Vinet. The greatest nineteenth-century 
Swiss writers were Jeremias Gotthelf (his real name 
was Albert Bitzius), whose village stories were so 
much esteemed by Ruskin, Heinrich Leuthold, 
Gottfried Keller, and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer. 



{After a Photograph.) 


Of these Keller's fame went out far beyond the 
borders of Switzerland, and his great novel Der Griine 
Heinrich (Green Henry) is recognized as one of the 
greatest German novels of its century. Some of 
his short stories, too, whether in comedy or tragedy, 
have a European reputation, and will live in litera- 
ture. The centenary of his birth was celebrated in 
July, 1919, as a national festival, and it is worth 
remarking that one of his poems, his " O Mein 
Heimatland," set to music by the Swiss composer 
Baumgartner, now ranks as a Swiss national anthem. 
In Swiss painting of the nineteenth century the 
greatest name is that of Arnold Bocklin, many 
examples of whose works may be seen in the Gallery 
at Basle. In the twentieth century a Swiss painter 
who seems assured of lasting fame is Ferdinand 
Hodler, who died in the year 19 18, recognized all 
over the Continent among lovers of art. The best- 
known Swiss musician of the century was Joachim 
Raff. What the twentieth century will bring forth 
of permanence in Swiss literature and art it is as yet 
a little too early to say, but it may be remarked that 
among the most distinguished twentieth-century 
writers in German and French several are Swiss. 
Most distinguished of all is Carl Spitteler, of whose 
works, at least his epic Olympischer Friihling seems 
assured of a lasting place. A leading poet of the 
Ticino, a region of Switzerland of which little has 
been said in this connection, is Francesco Chiesa. 

The number of newspapers and periodicals published 
in Switzerland is extraordinarily large in proportion 
to the size of the population. In 1890 there was a 


total of 785, and even if, at the present day, this 
figure were reduced by ruling out the very numerous 
purely local and altogether negligible papers, there 
would still be probably between three and four 
hundred periodicals maintaining a fair circulation. 
The leading paper in French-speaking Switzerland 
is the Journal de Geneve, which was founded in the 
year 1826. Other Genevan papers to be noted are 
the Tribune de Geneve and the Courrier de Geneve. 
One of French-speaking Switzerland's foremost 
periodicals, the Semaine Litte'raire, is also published 
at Geneva. At Lausanne there appear the Gazette 
de Lausanne, which was founded in 1798, and the 
Tribune de Lausanne ; also Switzerland's leading 
monthly review, the BibliotJieque Universelle, estab- 
lished in 1796. The leading paper of Zurich, as of 
German-speaking Switzerland, is the Neue ZurcJier 
Zeitung. Other Zurich papers are the Zuricher Post 
and the Ziircher Volksrecht ; the latter is the organ 
of the extremist Socialists. At Bern the Bund is 
the chief daily newspaper, and for long was accounted 
the semi-official mouthpieceof the Confederation. The 
Eerner Tagwacht was the paper of Robert Grimm. 
Basle has two newspapers of note, the Easier Nach- 
richten and the Nationaheitung. Apart from the 
Journal de Geneve and the Neue Ziireher Zeitung, 
no Swiss newspaper has a considerable extra-Swiss 
circulation or reputation. 

We see in Switzerland a nation which once played 
a conspicuous part in European military affairs, but 
has now become a land of peace, with its neutrality 
recognized since the days of the Congress of Vienna, 


where the necessity for such recognition presented 
itself with decisive force. In the exceptional posi- 
tion the Confederation now holds she considers it 
part of her mission of peace to promote the general 
welfare of the world, so far as lies in her power. 
This end she has principally attained by acting as a 
platform for various international causes, by making 
herself an intermediary between the nations of the 
Continent. Apart from the League of Nations, which 
the will of the Great Powers established at Geneva, 
there were, before the European War, no less than 
seven important international associations established 
on the territory of the Confederation. Most widely 
known of all, of course, is the International Red 
Cross, which arose out of the Geneva Convention, 
held in the year 1864 under the presidency of 
General Dufour. The work of this organization in 
mitigating the horrors of war and in dealing with 
disease in all theatres of war is too familiar to need 
description here. The other international organiza- 
tions to which reference should be made are the 
Telegraphic Union {Bureau international des ad- 
ministrations te'lcgraphiques), founded in 1868 ; the 
Universal Postal Union {Bureau international deV 
Union postale universelle), established at Bern in 
1874; the International Union of Freight Trans- 
portation {Office central des transports internationaux); 
the International Bureau of Industrial Property and 
its affiliations ; the International Bureau for the 
protection of Artistic and Literary Property ; and, 
finally, the International Labour Office {Office 
international du Travail). With certain of these, 


most conspicuously of all in the case of the 
Universal Postal Union, all civilized governments 
are in association, and it was found convenient, or 
otherwise beneficial, to have a central office, estab- 
lished on neutral soil, entrusted with the task of 
drawing up rules and fixing standards to which all 
countries might adhere. The last-named of the 
international bureaux, the International Labour 
Office, was founded in the year 1901 as a voluntary 
organization for the promotion of legislation, in as 
many countries as would accept it, with a view to 
ameliorating the conditions of labour in factories. 
This work was taken up by the International 
Labour Organization which arose out of the League 
of Nations Covenant of 1919, and there is little 
doubt that, now that the League has its head- 
quarters at Geneva, many of the international 
activities which formerly were initiated and were 
carried on by Swiss workers, will gradually be 
brought within the scope of the larger organization. 
What difference this may make to Swiss policy 
it is not at present easy to foresee, but the reference 
to Switzerland's international function, now more 
pronounced than ever, would not be complete 
without a brief mention of one of the most con- 
spicuous features in Swiss political tradition, the 
right of asylum. This has often been the occasion 
of serious embarrassment, particularly at times of 
European turmoil. In the troubled years 1848-1849, 
for example, fugitives arrived in Swiss territory 
from all parts of the Continent. As many as 
10,000 fled from the Grand Duchy of Baden, 


when Prussian troops checked the rising there. 
Many distinguished men who would otherwise have 
met with death or lingered indefinitely in prison 
have found a safe retreat in Switzerland. One 
needs only to recall Richard Wagner and Mommsen. 
In the year 1853 Austria turned out 6,000 Ticinese 
Swiss in the harshest manner from Lombardy, 
on the plea that Italians had been allowed 
to conspire on Swiss soil against Austria. Six 
years later the Swiss had an opportunity of 
heaping coals of fire on the head of Austria, for 
when the Austrian garrison was driven from Fort 
Baveno, on Lake Maggiore, the soldiers were not 
only admitted to Swiss territory, but were liberally 
treated. Mazzini, too, sought safety in Switzerland, 
causing her Government considerable trouble. The 
Franco-German and the European Wars respectively 
offered the Swiss many opportunities of showing 
their benevolence towards distressed foreigners. 
To the civilians who had to leave their homes at 
the outbreak of each conflict the Swiss people 
showed innumerable kindnesses. From the siege 
of Strasbourg, in 1871, [,400 women and children 
were taken into Switzerland, with the consent 
of both belligerents ; while the disarmament of 
Bourbaki's Army of 85,000 men and 9,000 horse 
after his failure to relieve Belfort, and the good 
treatment which was given it during its intern- 
ment in Switzerland, is familiar history. The 
impartial, charitable work of the Swiss during 
the Great European War would need a volume 
fully to describe it. Switzerland became, as it 


were, the great hospital for the diseased or 
seriously wounded from all armies, as well as an 
exchange station for all those civilians or soldiers 
concerning whom an agreement could be arrived at 
by the various belligerent Governments concerned. 
The number of those exchanged or given hospitality 
in the Swiss centres of internment — Germans, French, 
British, Belgians, and Serbians — amounted to several 
thousands. In the spring of 1917, for example, there 
were living in Switzerland no less than 13,648 French 
officers and men, and 7,753 German ; a year later 
there were altogether over 26,000 internes. It is 
not from motives of vainglory that the Swiss have 
acted thus, but from motives of humanity and 
benevolence. The right of asylum is liable to be 
abused, and was abused to such an extent during 
the European War that a very considerable 
limitation of its scope was widely demanded and 
to some extent put into operation — for otherwise 
Switzerland would have been entirely engulfed by 
starving and discontented mobs from all the defeated 
countries of Europe — but its nobler side should not 
be forgotten. It is to be expected that Switzerland, 
in spite of adherence to the League of Nations, will 
maintain her position of independence and neutrality, 
the very existence of which has proved such an 
essential element in the political stability of the 
Continent and an indispensable factor in the estab- 
lishment of many organizations of charity and 
international benefit. It remains only to give a 
few figures respecting the present numbers of the 
population, taken from the official returns for the 

3 J 


year 19 10, the date of the last Census. The total 
was 3,765,123 actually and 3,753,293 in regular 
residence. The corresponding figures in 1870 and 
1 9 10 respectively — which will give some idea of the: 
growth of the population in different periods— were 
2,669,147 and 2,655,001, and 3,325,023 and 3,315,443. 
Of the resident population in 19 10, 1,845,529 were 
male, 1,907,764 were female. There were 2,594,186 
German-speaking — in eighteen cantons — 793,264 
French-speaking — in six cantons — 302,578 Italian- 
speaking — in two cantons — 40,234 Romantsch-speak- 
ing — all in the Canton of Grisons (Graubiinden), and 
23,031 of other tongues. The religious statistics 
were: 2,107,814 Protestants, 1,593,538 Roman 
Catholics, 18,462 Jewish faith, and 33,479 were 
unclassified. The canton with the largest population 
is that of Bern, with 645,877 regular inhabitants, 
Zurich coming next with 503.915; while that with 
the smallest number is that of Lower Unterwalden, 
with 13,788. The most populous towns are Zurich, 
with 190,733, an increase on the 1910 figures of 
40,000; Basle, with 132,276, an increase of nearly 
23,000; Geneva, with 123,153, as against 109,161 ; 
Bern, with 85,651, as against 64,227; St. Gall, with 
75,482, as against 53,796; and Lausanne, with 
64,446, as against 46,732. The number of foreigners 
living in Switzerland was in the year 1910 552,011, 
a large proportion which was increased during the 
years immediately preceding — 147 per cent, in 1910 
as against 3 per cent, in 1850 — and during the Great 
War, constituting one of the most difficult problems 
with which the Swiss Government was faced. The 


proportion of the foreigners were as follows : 
Germans, 39*6 per cent. ; Italians, 367 ; French, 
1 1*5 ; Austrians, y?,. Closely bound up with this 
question of foreigners was that of naturalizations, 
which in the year 191 8 reached a total of 6,693, 
of whom 3,907 were Germans, 1,714 Italians, 572 
Austrians, 320 French. Naturalization is a cantonal 
affair, but the Confederation has the right to inter- 
fere, and during the European War there were many 
demands that the permissions to natural'ze should 
be greatly restricted. Whatever may be the outcome 
of this, there is no doubt that Switzerland's foreign 
population will remain at a higher figure than is 
usual in other European countries, and constitute 
a difficulty of potential seriousness both in regard 
to Swiss foreign relations as in her domestic policy. 

Here must end our short sketch of this remarkable 
little state. From the very earliest times its peoples 
have been particularly interesting — from its pre- 
historic lakemen, with their almost unique series of 
settlements, down through the successive nationalities 
of Helvetians and Romans, Alamanni and Burgun- 
dians, to the modern Germans, French, Italians, and 
Romantsch. Switzerland has bred or has been 
closely connected with some of the proudest ruling 
families in European history — Habsburgs and 
Zaerings, Carlovingians and Burgundians, Hohen- 
staufens and Savoys. Some of the most glorious 
victories recorded in history have been gained by 
the little Swiss nation in defence of their beloved 
fatherland ; the fame of Morgarten, Sempach, 
Grandson, and Morat is not likely to die out 


while European civilization lasts. Constitutionally, 
the history of Switzerland is of surpassing interest. 
Step by step we see a handful of gallant people 
free themselves from oppression by emperor or duke, 
by prince or lord, by prelate or cloister. Inch by 
inch the people at large gained their political rights 
from foreign overlords or from native aristocracies. 
We have seen how a tiny confederation of three 
petty states grew into a league of eight, and then 
of thirteen independent districts, and how this 
has developed into the federal state of twenty-two 
cantons of our own day. Lastly, some of the insti- 
tutions of the country and their practical working, 
notably the Initiative and the Referendum, are 
wellnigh unique of their kind, and certainly are 
of the greatest interest to the student of political 
history and development ; while Switzerland's noble 
efforts for the amelioration and benefit of mankind 
at large cannot but command our admiration. 

" II est a nous, notre libre avenir ; 
Morgarten, Grandson, jours de fete, 
Si vous ne deviez revenir, 
O Saint Jacques, O sainte defaite, 
Dans ton pourpre Hnceul, tu nous verrais dormir."* 

1 De la Rive, Genevan poet. 


Aargau, subject land, 186 ; | 

manufactures, 455 
Adolf of Nassau, 131 
Ador, Gustave, elected to 

Federal Council, 435 ; 

elected President, 443, 445 
Adriatic, 444 
/Eneas Sylvius, 203, 253 
Aetius defeated Huns, 45 ; 

gave Savoy to Burgundy, 51 
Agassiz, 14, 458 
Agen, battle of, 20 
Agence des Prisonniers de 

Guerre, 428 
A^nes of Konigsfelden, 141 
Alamanni, 39, 46, 47, 49 
Albrecht of Habsburg, 113, 

120, 131, 132 
Alcuin. '< ) 
Allmend, or common land, 48, 

Allobroges, 21 
Alpinus, 37 
Alpnach, bay of, 355 
Ambiihl <>! ( rlarus, 1 76 
Amman chosen in Uri, 127 
Am Stoss, battle <>f, 1 8 1 
Appenzell, 181 ; admitted as 

an ally, 182 ; admitted as 

a canton, 237 ; manufac- 

Aqua- 1 1 laden), 35 
Aquae Sextiae, ba1 tie of, 21 
Arbedo, 1 ng ig< men! at, 1 


Arelatisches Reich founded, 73 

Army Administration, 422, 

424; law of 1907, 425, 

433- 438 

Arnold of Brescia, reformer, 

100, 152 
Arnold, Matthew, 457 
Arnold von Melchthal, 120 
Arnulf of Kaernthen, 76 
Arth, battle of, 354 
Asylum, Pight of, 409, 464-5 
Augusta Rauracorum, 35, 39 
Augusta Vindelicorum, 32 
" Ausserer Stand," Society, 320 
Austria, 143, 146, 166 ; de- 
feated at Sempach, 172 
defeated at Xaefels, 177 
renounces the Forest, 17S 

4- 6 > 443. 4 r >4 
Autun, battle of, 55 

1 s, the, 76 
A \ cliches, 97, 213 ; battle at, 

Aventicum, 14, 34, 39 

Baden, 418, 463 
I laden (Zurich), 186 

irossa, 96 
Basel, 1 1 ; treaty of, 2 ?,<> ; 
divided, 387 ; 410, 1 1 ,, 

I'.'- 139. H''. 455. 458. 

!'.<< : population, [66 
Baslei Nai hrichten, 461 
Bayard, -• |<> 



I '>!( caria, -<>4 

Behrmann, 436 

I lei i' >rt , |( ■ 1 

Belgium, |i<>, 427, 431, 453 

Bellinzona, 18S 

Bern : founded, 97 ; defeated 
a1 Schosshalde, 158 ; forms 
I turgundian Confederation, 
159 ; rules over I lasle, 163; 
League with Austria, 166 ; 
power over house of Ky- 
burg, 166 ; seizes Habs- 
burg, 186 ; fortifies Morat, 
212 ; natural bent for rule, 
245 ; governing families of, 
320 ; plundered by French, 

351. 353 ; 41°. 417. 43L 

438, 440, 458, 461, 462 ; 

population, 466 
Berner Tagwacht, 439, 461 
Bertha, the " Spinning Queen," 

74- 86 
Bertold I., Duke of Zaeringen, 

Bertold II., 94 
Bertold IV., 96 
Bertold V. founds Bern. 97 ; 

defeated by Savoy, 98 
Beza, 287, 290 
Bibliotheque Universelle, 460 
Bibracte, battle of, 23 
Bismarck, 408, 409, 410" 
Bituitus, 19 
Bockenkrieg, 372 
Bocklin, Arnold, 460 
Bodmer, 334, 338 
Bolsheviks, 434, 438 
Bonivard, 273 
Bonneville, 445 
Borromean League, 294 
Borromeo, Archbishop of 

Milan, 293 
Bourbaki, General, 464 
Breisach, rising at, 205 

Breitinger, 334, 336 

Brun, Burgomaster of Zurich, 

140, 146, 155, 157 
Brussels, 448 
Bubenberg, llans von, 164; 

Adrian von, 206, 212 
Bullinger, Reformer, 268', 296 
Bund, i<n 

Bundesbahnen, sec Railways 
Bund ob dem See, 181 
Burgdorf, 97, 166 
Burgundia Transjurana, 73 
Burgundj t kes West Helvetia, 

40 ; deicated by Huns, 50 ; 

defeated by I 'ranks, 55 ; 

two kingdoms of, 73 ; its 

wars, 200 
Burkhard of Alamannia, 74 
Burkhard of Chur-Rhaetia, 78, 

80, 81 

Caecina ravages Helvetia, 36 
Campo Formio, treat}' of, 347 
Calonder, M., 443, 4 (.8 
Calvin, 279 ; his writings, 280 ; 

settles at Geneva, 281 ; 

banished, 282 ; founds the 

Consistory, 283 ; burns 

Servetus, 2S6 ; his policy, 

287 ; death, 289 
Carlomann, 58 
Carmagnola, General, 188 
Carolinum founded, 67 
Catalaunian Plain, great battle 

on, 45 
Catholic Conservatives, 441 
Catholic League, 387 
Catholic Reaction, 291, 294 
Census of 1910, 466 
Central Government, 396 
Centralization, 413, 416, 417, 

421, 428, 430 
Centralists, the, 366 
Chablais, 380, 402 



Charlemagne, 59 ; Emperor of 
the West, 60 ; legends con- 
cerning, 62 ; zeal for edu- 
cation, 04 

Charles the Bald, 72 

Charles the Bold, 200, 205 ; 
defeated at Grandson, 211; 
at Morat, 213 ; death, 215 

Charles IV. of Germany, 141, 

Chiavenna, 241, 346, 3S0 
Chiesa, Francesco, 460 
Chillon, ioy, 274 
Christianity, introduction of, 

Christian League, 264 
Chur (Coire), 410 
Clairvaux, monk, preaches 

Crusades, 99 
Clovis, king of the Franks, 54 
I odex Manesse, 153 
Columban, 57 
Commerce, 409 
Confederation formed, 119 
( onrad I., of Germany, 77 ; 

II., 88 ; III., 99 
Conradin, 1 14 
( onstance, 4 \2 
Constance, siege of, 304 ; city, 

Courrier de Geneve, 461 
Criminal Code, 420, 421 
Crusades, 98 
Customs, 409, 410, 412, 4 r 5, 


D'Affry, 372, 370 
J >avel, Major, ( [9 
Delices, Les," $26; theatre 
destroyed, 328 
I >iesba< h, Nil olas von, 200 
I >ivi< o, 20, 2 >, 
l >omo d'< 'ssola, t88 
J >ornbuhl, vi< tory at, 158 

Drachenreid, engagement at, 

Droz, Xuma, 410 
Drusus, 25, 32 
Dufour, General, 393, 401, 462 

Fast Frankish realm, 72 
Eberhard the "Quarrelsome," 

143 ; of Kyburg, 161 
Edigenossische technische 

Mochschule, 458 
Education, 3S8, 421, 422, 430, 

43i. 451. 455. 456 
Egli, Colonel, 432 
Eidgenossenschaft, the, 118 
Eight States League, 139, 166 
Einsiedeln, 82, 134 
Eisenbahnpolitik, see Railways 
Eishere the Giant, 62 
Hlizabeth of Habsburg, 133 
" Empty Pocket," Frederick 

the, 181 
England, 452 
Ensisheim, peace of, 197 
Frlach, Ludwig von, 350 
Erlach, Rudolf von, 164 
Ernest II. of Swabia, S2 
Escalade of Geneva, 302 
Eschenbach, 133 
Escher, 358, 375 
Escher, Dr. Alfred, 457 
Ewiger I hind, 129 
Exports, 435 

Factory Act of 1877, 414 
I arel, reformer, 275 
Faucigny, 380, 402 

I .ms< n-( lit." the, 107 
Favre, Louis, 457 
I ederal Assembly, 396, 1 10, 
pi, 414, 417. n8, |io, 
425, 427 8, , ,., 
Federal Council, 396, 417, 



Federal Tribunal, 396 

Felix Martyr, 42 

Fellenberg, educationist, 374 

Ferney, 326 

I eudalism, 103 

I H lite, 33S 

Finance, Swiss, 415, 429; 

I I 1 
I ontana, 234 
" Foul Peace," the, 175 
France, 410, 424, 426, 430, 

431, 446, 447, 454, 453, 

Tranche Comte, 215 
I ranco-German War, 461 
Franks, the, 54 
Fraubrunnen, skirmish at, 

" Free zones," 444, 445, 4 \6, 

Frederick von Staufen, 93 
Frederick I. (Barbarossa), 105 
Frederick II., 105, 127, 150 
Frederick III., 190 
Frederick the "Empty 

Pocket," 1 Si, 185 
Freiburg, 161, 221, 458 
French Revolution, 343 
Fridolin St., banner of, at 

Xaefels, 177 
" Friedel " (Empty Pocket), 


Galba, 25, 35 

Gallia Comata, 31 

Gall, St., 57, 62, 182, 241, 346, 
455, 466 

Gazette de Lausanne, 461 

Geneva, 245 ; " Children " of, 
273, 285 ; besieged by 
Savoy, 276 ; occupied by 
Bernese army, 277 ; Cal- 
vin's rule in, 284 ; escalade 
of, 302 ; Fatio's reforms, 

322 ; admitted into league, 
380 ; 410, 431, 439, 458 
461 ; I ieneva < ionvent on, 
• 462, 463, 466 
Germany, 408, 409, 410, 419, 
420, 424, 426, 430, 431, 

433- 435- 436, 437- •III. 
448, 450. 454, 457 

Geschworne Brief, 155 

r. 121, 123 

Gex, 446 

Giornico, victory at, 189 

Glarean, scholar, 254 

Glarus, 141 ; 1st Landsge- 
meinde, 175 ; defeats Aus- 
tria, 177 ; defeated at 
Rapperswyl, 353 

Goethe, 341 

Golden League, 294 

Gothard, St., pass, 187 ; rail- 
way, 417-19, 457; Con- 
vention, 419-20; 444-5; 
tunnel, 457 

Goticrdammerung, 50 

Gotteshausbund, 184 

Gotthelf, Jeremias, 458 

Grandson, battle of, 208, 211 

Graubunden, 184, 234 ; re- 
ligious feuds, 305 ; massacre 
in, 307 ; Austrian occu- 
pation, 308 ; independence 
recovered, 311, 466 

Grauholz, conflict at, 351 

Great Britain, 426, 446, 454 

Gregory VII., Pope, 91 

Greifensce, 194, 317 

Greyerz, 162, 164 

Grey, Lady Jane, 298 

< -rey League, 184 

" Grimm-Hoffmann " affair, 

434- 443 

Grimm, Robert, 434, 435, 

439. 4°i 
Guillermins, the, 282 



Gumminen, 161 
Gundobad of Burgundy, 52 

Habsburg-Austria, family of, 

Habsburg Castle, 113 
Habsburg, house of, 113, 114 ; 

kings of Germany, 115 
Habsburg-Laufenburg, 113 
Hadrian, Pope, 60, 63 
Hadwig, 81 
Ilagenbach, Peter von, 204, 

Haller, 334, 336 
Halhvyl, Hans von, 212 
Harpe, La, 347, 359, 367, 372, 


Harsthorner, 209 

Hartmann, 108, 161 

Hatto, Bishop, 66 

Heer, Professor, 8 

Heierli, 11 

Helvetia, 13, 31, 32 

Helvetians, 14 ; government, 

17 ; feuds with Germans, 

18 ; victory over Ro- 
mans, 20 ; defeated at 
Bibracte, 24 ; made asso- 
ciates by Rome, 25 ; split 
into two sections, 36 

Helvetic Club, 347 
Helvetic Republic, 352, 415 
Helvetic Society, the, 340, 342 
Henrv L, the " City Founder," 

Henry II. of Germany. 87 
1 [enry III., 88, 90, 105 
1 [enry IV., 91, 93 
Henry VII., 134 
Hericourt, Siege of , 208 
I [erodotus, 8 

Hertenstein of Lucerne, 213 
1 [ildegard, Princess, Abb< 

/ . h, 70 

Hirzel, 339 

Hodler, Ferdinand, 431, 460 

Hoerige, the, 48 

Hoffmann. M., 434, 435 

Hohe Frau von Zurich, 149 

Hohenstaufen line, 107 ; ex- 
tinction, 114 

Hooper, Bishop, 207 

" Horned Council," 229 

Hotze, 360 

Huber, Professor Eugene, 

Hug, Dr. Arnold, scholar, 

Huns, 44, 45 

Huss, martyr, 198 

Ilg, Paul, 433 

Im Grund, 219 

Imports, 453-4 

Initiative, the, 403, 411— 13, 

Innsbruck, 186 
International Labour Office, 

462, 403 
International organizations, 

462, 463, 465 
International Red Cross, 443, 

Italian Wars, 237 
Italy, 410, 41S, 419, 420, 431, 
■lit. 454- 457 

Jacques, St., battle of, 191, 

[9 ,. 195 
Japan, 410 
Jenatsch, 307, 309 ; stabbed, 


fev \< ■'< 

John Will.. Tope, 185 
Jour)ial de (it- neve, 461 
Judith, 72 

Julien, St., I rearj of, 27 i 
Juvalta, Anna, 307 



Kaernthen, Arnulf of, 76 
Kappcl, first battle, 264 ; 

second ditto, 267 
" Kappeler, Milchsuppe," 264 
Keller, I )r. Ferdinand, 3 
Keller, Gottfried, 154, 458, 


Kern, Swiss envoy, 400 
Kienthal, 1 v s 
Klaus, Brirdcr, 11 1 
Klingenberg, Henry of, 153 
Klopstock, 337, 338 
Kloten, 38 

Knonau Castle, 1S6 ; rising at, 
227 ; Ludwig Meyer von, 

Knox, 287 

Konigsfelden, Monastery, 133 

Korsakovv, 360, 361 

Kyburg Manor, 82 ; counts of, 

89 ; rise of family, 104 ; 

fall, 166 

" Ladle Squires," the, 274 

Lake dwellers, 5,9, 11 

Lake dwellings, 3 ; construc- 
tion, 5 ; probable dates, 
1 1 ; ditto in East York- 
shire, 12 

Landammann, installation of, 

Landenberg, 121 

Lander, the, 218 

sion, 425 

Landsgemeinde, 247 

Latin Monetary Union, 416 

Latin right, 35 

Laupen, 97, 163 

Lausanne bishopric, 271, 410, 
431 ; University, 458, 466 

Lavater, 340, 359, 361 

League of Nations, 444, 449, 
45°- 459- 4 62 . 4 6 3 

League of Perpetual Alliance, 

1 10 
Lemanic Republic, 310 
Lenzburg, counts of, 89 ; 

family, 104 
Lenin, 434, 439 
Leopold, 135 ; defeated at 

Morgarten, 130 
Leopold III. of Austria, 168; 

defeated at Sempach, 172 
Letzinen, the, 162 
Leuthold, Hcinrich, 458 
Leventina, 188 ; rising in, 316 
Libertines, 285 
Ligue a la Cassette, 316 
Linth canal, 373 
" Lion of Lucerne," 346 
Literature, Swiss, 438, 459 
Locarno refugees, 295 
Lombardy, 461 
" Long Diet," 378 
Lorraine, kingdom of, 200 
Lothair, 73, 96 
Louis Napoleon, 389 
Louis Philippe, 389 
Louis the Child, 76 
Louis the German, 70 
Louis the Pious, 71 
Louis XL, 195 
Louis XIV., 312, 313 
Lucerne, 140 
Lugano, 410 
Luneville, Peace of, 367 
Liitzelburg, Henry of, 133 
Lyons, 32 

Maehren, the, 7(1 
Malleolus, savant, 198, 253 
Mamelukes, the, 273 
Manesse, 142, 153 
Mannheim Convention, 446 
Manufactures, 433, 455 
Marignano, 218, 240 
Martel, Charles, 38 



Massena, 360, 361 

Maximilian, 232 

Mayence, diet at, 93 

" Mazze," the, 183 

Mazzini, 461 

Mediation Act, 369 

IMeilen. 3 

Meistersinger, 251 

Melchthal, Arnold von, 120 

Mermillod, Bishop, 402 

Meyer, Conrad Ferdinand, 458 

Milan, 187, 189, 23S 

" Milchsnppe," the, 264 

Military system, 398 

Minnelieder, 153 

Misox, 295 

Mommsen, 464 

Monk of St. Gall, 62 

Morat, battle of, 212 

Mi >r»arten, battle of, 131, 135 ; 
another engagement at, 354 

Midler, Eduard, Federal Coun- 
cillor, 443 

Miiller, historian, 1 24 

Murten, see Morat 

Mytenstein, the, 121 

Xacfcls, battle of, 1 75 
Nancy, battle of, 215 
Naples, 453 

Napoleon and Switzerland, 370 
" Natif ," the, 323 

rial Bank, Swiss, 4 1 7 
National Council, 413 
National Debt, Swiss, 1 ", 1 
National I >efen< e < ommission, 

4 2 5. IM 
Nalionalzeitung, t'.i 
Naturalization, \6j 
" Negatifs," the, ^22 
Nellenburg, 1 ounts of, 8g 
Neu< hat el, jo.; ; rebels against 
Prussia, 323 ; admitted to 
lea j troubles in, 

399 ; Prussia renounces 
claim to, 402, 431, 455 ; 
I niversity, 45S 
Xeue Ziircher Zeitung, 461 
Neueneck, engagement at, 330 
Xeutralitatsberichte, 428, 420 
Neutrality of Switzerland, 427, 
428, 429, 430, 440, 44s, 
449, 462, 465 
Newspapers, Swiss, 461 

Nibelungenlied," 51 
Nicolas von der Flue, 219 
Nidau, Count of, 164 
Nidwalden, 129 
North German Confederation, 

Notker, chronicler, 62 ; Mona- 

chus S. Gallr-nsis, 75 
Novara, siege of, 239 
Noviodunum, 33 

Obwalden, 129 

Ochs, Peter, 347, 352, 35S, 367 
Octodurum (Martignyj, 35 
" Olympischer Friihling," 431, 

Omer, St., Treaty of, 204 
Orcitrix, see Orgetorix 
Orgetorix, 17 ; his treason and 

death, 2 r 
Otho I., 80 

( m toko o! Steyermark, 110 
( >tto ot Strassberg, 135 ; death, 

Otto von Freysing, 151 

I 'a pal see, alliance with, 2 {8 

I 'arai elsus, 301 

Paris Peace Confereni e, 4 (.3, 

Paris, 1 'c.Kc of, 377 
PauluS I » 1 . 1 < onus, i' 1 

l real j oi 101 o, 420, 444 

1 I' 1 



Peasants' 1 'arty, 1 1 r 
I 'i asants' revolt, 31 1 
Pepin le Bref, 58 

Pestalozzi, 331, 339, 356, 366, 

3 74. 3 8 .5 

I vti-r Martyr, 295 

Peter of Savoy, "Second 
Charlemagne," 108 ; Savoy 
palace, 109 ; war with 
Austria, no; death, 11 1 

Petrograd, 434 

Pfaffikon Lake, 6 

Pfyffer, " Swiss king," 293 

Philip of Savoy, in 

Pius II., 203 

Planta, John von, 305 ; Ru- 
dolf, 307 

Plenary Powers, 428 

Polytechnikum at Zurich, 398 

Population, 465-7 

Postal Union, the, 463 

Press, Swiss, 428, 433, 43C, 

Proportional Representation, 
44°' 45° 

Radical Party, 413, 441 

Raff, Joachim, 460 

Railways, 417-19, 444, 457 

Rapinat, 364 

Rapperswyl, counts of, 104 ; 
skirmish at, 156 ; John 
of, 156 ; battle at, 353 

Raron, barons of, 182, 183 

Rauraci, 14, 33 

Rauracian Republic, 345 

Reding, 191, 194 ; advocates 
Reislaufen, 226 

Reding of Schwyz, 353, 359, 

Referendum, the, 403 ; of two 
kinds, 405 ; its working, 
406, 413, 414, 419, 440, 

Reformation in East Switzer- 
land, 254 ; in West Switzer- 
land, 267 

Regensburg, Peace of, 145 

Regula Martyr, 40 

Reichsfreiheit, the, 126 

Reinhard, 376, 379 

Religious statistics, 466 

Rene of Lorraine, 208, 215 

Rengger, 365 

Rluetians, 14 ; campaign of 
Drusus, 26 ; joined with 
East Switzerland, 32 ; fall 
of Goths, 55 

Rhcinfelden manor, 91 ; battle 
of, 310 

Rhine navigation, 444-6 

Rhone, 445 

Richard of Cornwall, 100 

Robenhausen, 6, 8 

Rohan, Duke Henry de, 309, 

Romans, 20 ; Bibracte, 23 ; 
conquer Valais, 25 ; Rhaetia 
26 ; policy, 30 

Romantsch dialect, 14, 26, 466 

Rotach, 181 

Rothenburg, 168 

Rotzloch, battle of, 355 

Roumania, 410 

Rousseau, 325 ; birth, 328 ; 
writings, 329 ; " Contrat 
Social," 331 

Rudolf der Alte, 113 

Rudolf of Habsburg, 113; 
elected King of Germany, 
115; policy, 1 16 

Rudolf II., of Burgundy, 74 

Rudolf III., of Burgundy, 82, 

Rudolf IV., of Habsburg, 145 
Rudolf, " Rector of Burgun- 
dy," 91 
Rudolf the Guelf, 73 



Rudolf the Silent, 113 

Rudolf von Erlach, 164 

" Rufst du mein Vaterland,' 

Ruskin, 458 
Russia, 435 

Russian Revolution, 434, 439 
Riitli, the oath on, 120, 122 

Sabaudia (Savoy), 51 

Saint Julien, 446 

Salis, Von, 305 

Salodunum (Soleure), 35 

Sardinia, 446 

Sarnen, the " White Book " 
of, 124 

Savoy, 98 ; Palace in Strand, 
109 ; defeated at Yisp, 
[82 ; loses Lower Valais, 
208 ; and Freiburg, 216 ; 
and Vaud, 277 ; zones, 
1 I"- II"- 155 
Savoyards," the, 273 

Sax-Misox, 183, 18S 

Schaffhausen, 204, 236, 410, 

Schauenberg, 350, 355, 360 
Scheffcl's " Ekkehard," Si 
Schindellegi, battle of, 354 
Schinner, Matthaeus, 238 
Si liuin\ erwandte, 180 
Schmalkalden, wars, 291 

i.ildc, battle of, 158 
Schwyz, 1 I'j ; charter of liber- 
ties, 127; joins league, 128 ; 
war with Zurich, 190 
Semaine, LittSraire, 461 
Sempa< li, battle of, 1 00 ; Win- 

kelried's death, 170 
Sequani, the, 1 1 

Sfor/a. I.M'!' \\ Leo, 2 ; - ; Maxi- 
mer < on< ordat, 

Sigismund, 55, 185 

Sigismund of Austria, 204 

Simplon Road, 376 ; tunnel, 
419, 457 

Social Democratic Party, 408, 
413. 433. 434- 437- 438, 
439-4L 450 

S.S.S. (Societe Suisse de Sur- 
veillance), 436, 437 

Socinus, 295 

Solomon, Abbot of St. Gall, 
76, 77, 80 

Solothurn, 159, 221 

Sonderbund wars, 392 

"-'iilt, Marshal, 361 
Sozialdemokraten," 435 

Spitteler, Carl, 431, 459 

Sprecher, Colonel von, 433 

Stael, Madame de, 332 

Stafa, insurrection in, 346 

Stanz, meeting at, 217, 219 ; 
covenant of, 221 ; siege, 

Stapfer, 303, 370 
" Starke .Mann, Der," 433 
Staurfacher, 120 
" Stecklikrieg," the, 368 
Steyermark, 116 
Strasbourg, 203, 446, 4G4 
Strikes, Swiss, 440 
Strauss, 391 
Stuppa, 313 
Stiissi, ior, 193 
Subject lands, 179 
Suwarow, 360, 361 
Swabia, 71, 73 ; John of, 133 ; 

wars, 235 
Sweden, 435 

Swiss guards massacred, 315 
Syh ius, 204 

Tagsatzung (Diet), 250 
Tatwil, \ 11 ,1 1 1.01 defeat ,it, 1 \2 
I a\ 'lli murdered, 1 82 



Telegraphic Union, 462 
Tell, l-!.:. C23 
Tellenplatte, 123 
Theiling 6f Lucerne, 227 
Theobald, bishop, 66 
Theodoric the Great, 51, 53 
" Thermopylae of Switzerland," 

1 17 
Thonon, 446 
Thun, ii; 
Thurgau, 204 
Ticino, 187, 241, 445, 457, 

459. I'M 
Tigurini, the, 14, 22 
Tirano, skirmish at, 308 
Toggenburg, 93, 19° 
Torberg, Peace of, 146 
Toygeni, the, 14 
Tremouille, General, 239 
Tribune de Geneve, 461 
Triliune de Lausanne, 461 
Trivulzio, 239, 241 
Tschudi, historian, 124, 252 
Turicum, 17 
" Two Colonels Affair," 432, 


Ufenau Island, 192 
I'lrichen, battle of, 182 
I'lrich of Kyburg, 108 
Unitarier, 366 
United States, 431, 446 
I'mversal Postal Union, 462, 

Universities, Swiss, 457-8 
I'nterthanen Laender, 180 
Unterwalden, 119; divided, 

129. 4°3 
I'ri, 119 ; severed from Zurich 

Abbey, 126 ; chooses Am- 

mann, 127 
Uristier of Uri, 209 
Ursus (and Victor) put to 

death, 42 

" I fster, Day of," 385 
Uto Castle, 1 15 

Valais, 14 ; joined to Savoy, 

32 ; joins league, 1S2 ; 

rising in, 345 
Valangin, Count, 164 
Valisians, 14, 25 
Valtellina, 241 ; massacre in, 

307 ; joined to Lombardy, 

346 ; to Austria, 380 
Vaud, 216, 269 ; lost to Savoy, 

Vazerol, diets of, 1S4 
Vela, |57 

Vercella?, battle of, _> 1 
Vercingetorix defeated, 25 ; 

death, 29 
Verdun, treaty of, 72, 200 
Versailles Conference, 444 - 
Vespasian, 34 
Victor (and Ursus) put to 

death, 42 
Victoriden, the, 55 
Vienna Congress, 378, 426, 

443- 447 
Villmergen, religious strife, 

311 ; second ditto, 316 
Vindonissa, 35 
Vinet, 456 
Viret, reformer, 276 
Visconti, the, 187 
Visp, battle of, 182 
Vitellius, 37 

Vogelinseck, battle of, 181 
Volkslieder, the, 251 
Voltaire, 325 ; at Ferney, 326 ; 

influence, 327 
Vorarlberg, 190, 443, 450 

Wagner, Richard, 464 
Walchen Rbmaunsh, [84 
Waldmann, 212, 213 ; his 

life, 222 ; policy, 223 ; 

conspiracy against him. 



227 ; sentence and death, 

22S ; compromise, 229 
Waldsliut feud, 204 
Waldstatten, the, 3, 120, 140 
Walter Fiirst von Atting- 

hausen, 120 
Wart stabs Albrecht of Habs- 

burg, 133 
Wasserkirche (Zurich), 68, 

- -4 
Water-power, 452 
Wattenwyl, Colonel, 432 
Weiss, 3411 

Welti. Swiss President, 41S 
Wengi, Nicolas von, 268 
Werdenberg, counts of, 105, 

1 70, 1S1 ; revolts, 316 
Werner of Kyburg, 104 
Werner Stauffacher, 120 
Wesen, 175, 177 
West Frankish realm, 72 
Westphalia, peace of, 311 
Wieland, 337 
William IV. of Burgundy, 

Willisau destroyed, 169 
Wilson, President, 449 
Wimmis stormed, [62 
Winkelried, 171, 173 
Winkelriedstiftung, the, 415 
Winterthur, 74, 132 
Wohlgemuth, )<> s 1 
Workmen's compensation, p \ 
Win ' (i8 

Wyss, Professor (ieorg von 

hist"; 1.111, 69 

Yorkshire, lake settlements in 

1 - 
Yverdon, 97 

Zaenngen, h use of, 95, 96 : 
dissolution, 101 

Zehngerichte (Bund), 184 

Zimmerwald Conference, 434, 

Zschokke, novelist, 374, 384 

Zug, 142 ; excluded from 
league, 145 ; readmitted, 

Zugewandte, 1S0 

Zum Ranft, 219 

Ziinfte or guilds, 225 

Zurich, 60, 66 ; abbey founded, 
70 ; 75 ; diets, 90 ; Reichs- 
vogtei, 94; attacks Winter- 
thur, 132 ; joins league, 
defeats Austrians, 142 ; 
Lenzburgs and Zaerings, 
149 ; a poet's corner, 155 ; 
" Mordnacht," 156 ; war 
with Schwyz, 190, 193 ; 
gives up Austrian Alliance, 
197 ; revolts against Wald- 
mann, 228 ; war with 
Forest, 276 ; religious refu- 
gees, 295 ; educational 
pre-eminence, 398; 417 

43i. 439, 453. 455. 

461 ; largest Swiss 


Zuricher, Post, 461 

Zuricher, Volksrccht, 461 

" Zurichputsch," (91 1 

Zwingli, 155 ; birth. 

called to Zun h, 

abolishes Reislaufen, 

establishesNal ii »nal Church, 

262 ; with Zurich army, 

264 ; killed in battle, 267 


57 : 
60 ; 

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